Nowadays teenagers would only dream of being one of the best esport players at their school. However, for Matt Reece, it was a surprise.
Reece was a basic well-rounded individual in high school, until around September 2014 when "Super Smash Bros." for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U was released. "I never took the game super seriously, but I was having consistent wins with my friends, and it felt kind of nice," Reece said.
As time progressed and the game got more popular, Reece hosted a small tournament where around 20 people showed up.
"It was my first taste of a bracket. I didn't get far at the time, but I had a blast while I was there, and I knew that I wanted to just get more involved with this competitive scene," he said.
Before there was "Smash," Reece had trouble figuring out what he wanted to do with his life, especially with his senior year of high school coming to an end. What kickstarted his career was his realization of how skillful he was at the tourneys he was attending.
"I liked a lot of subjects in school, I played music, I did theater, I was in scouting, but none of them were screaming to me to become a passion," he said. "Having my first season of tourney win after tourney win allowed me to see that there is somewhere I can go."
Reece began to play more competitively when he received a Wii U and the video game along with its additional accessories for his birthday.
"I started to watch tournaments more. I found an online matchmaking site for more serious competitors, and I even got into an online crew," he said. "I was fully invested into the competitive scene that 'Smash' became my number one hobby, and I felt like I was improving every day."
Come the month of August 2018, Reece was a freshman at Miami University. He saw this opportunity as a clean slate and decided to re-brand himself under the name TimeGear. Once he found out there was a "Smash" community on campus, Reece went to go make a name for himself.
"After my first tournament, I won every weekly I went to," Reece said. "People knew my tag, and people were just overall excited to see me do something that I loved. And that's why I really enjoy 'Smash.'"
Reece's game tag TimeGear has become so popular that he is even catching the attention of other "Smash" players from different schools such as Cincinnati University.
Reece can't help but look back and appreciate how much "Smash" has impacted his life. To have "Smash" at Miami University has helped him even further to balance his life out.
"To have my success recognized has helped me change from a procrastinator with some work ethic issues to one that faces issues head on and with determination," Reece said. "I've always been a quiet kid who has laid low. But now that I have 'Smash,' I can finally be someone that I've always wanted to be."