The Girl On Fire
"It’s all about keeping a positive outlook and hoping for the best. You can’t control much but you have to be ready for whatever gets thrown at you – literally!", Ember says as she prepares for the Annual Gormball Championships.
Unprecedented, unexpected and un-be-lievable – We’re giving you an in-depth look at one of Gormball’s finest players, Ember. This girl is on fire. Literally. Records show that Ember has found herself in the top three for six years since the competition started in Year 2. Previously mocked for her desire to play a physical sport, Ember has shown she is well worthy of being on the field and crushes it off the field as well.
While most faeries her age practiced delicacy and grace, Ember didn’t find her interests in typical ‘Faerie’ standards. Growing up, she knew she was different. She knew she was destined for something greater than an average life. Her interests were more towards fulfilling a lifelong dream: to become the best Gormball player in Neopia.
It took Ember a couple of years before she finally placed in the top three of the Annual Gormball Competition. Ember knew it was only a matter of time before she got to shine. And boy, was she right.
After her first championship win in Year 7, she was accused of cheating due to her faerie abilities by Brian – an accusation which he quickly regretted upon realizing he was disqualified from the first ever championships for cheating by using a rigged ball.
Nonetheless, Ember took that championship with pride for all the young faeries out there aspiring for bigger dreams. As ecstatic as she was with her first ever championship, she was hungry for more.
Other players like Farvin III gained inspiration to work twice as hard for the next year, but she surprised all fans across Neopia, as Ember was the first player to take home back to back championships in both Year 7 and Year 8.
Before winning back to back championships, not many people would bet on Ember, given her fire abilities in a sport with a water-filled ball. However, all the doubt and non-believers throughout the years has only driven her to work harder and play smarter. She knew her disadvantages and her weaknesses but has consistently shown her dedication to the sport year after year.
After making a name for herself in the Gormball world, competition started getting tougher for her as the years went by after Year 9, having not placed in the top three for the next four years. Distractions from the evil overlord himself, Dr. Sloth, prevented her from ranking top three in Year 10. This marked Dr. Sloth’s first and only championship win thus far.
Yet, despite not going against Dr. Sloth in Year 11, an equally large and intimidating fellow named Kevin, stepped in his place but underdog Gargarox played a perfect game, leading him to a well-deserved championship but a placeless, disappointed Ember.
Unfortunately, Year 12 was not too kind to her either, as Ember was unable to play due to petrification. She spent countless hours training both her mental game and her physical game to prepare for all the obstacles to come and tirelessly worked towards a return to the game.
By Year 13, Ember slowly but surely eased her way back into the competition and was welcomed with a standing ovation as she returned to the championships.
It’s not easy being one of the very few faeries in a physical sport like Gormball. Competition is intimidating and the pressure can get intense but Ember didn’t care. She found the thrill of the competition more exciting than the typical life of blessing Neopets and casting spells. She knew that Gormball was her passion and she was more focused than ever to win another championship.
Although she came close in Year 13, Ember fell short as she landed in the Runner Up position as Brian was once again disqualified for unfair play and a rigged Gormball. Disappointed in her opponent, Ember was happy for Kevin for winning his first ever Gormball gold – an act of true sportsmanship.
Despite her efforts to stray away from the ‘Faerie-norm’, Ember’s kindness will always match her competitiveness. She may not want to be a typical faerie that blesses Neopets but she already has. She inspired so many other younger faeries to become a champion of their own craft. Ember has broken stereotypes of being a fragile faerie and has used her abilities to show her strength and power.
Although she did not place in Year 14, Ember came back stronger than ever to win a third Championship in Year 15. Fans may have been paying more attention but that year’s sold out crowd was enough to motivate Ember to give it all she had. Torrential downpour didn’t wash her out of the game – in fact, no one was more prepared for this game than she was. Ember brought out a feistiness to her that no one has ever seen and in her most devoted hour, Ember pulled off a major victory over Zargold and Brian.
Her growth throughout the years represented the next steps in breaking barriers and overcoming obstacles. Ember had to quickly adapt to keep her dreams alive and had to go through years of constant training and immense focus, especially after experiencing severe fear from the evil overlord himself. Although she had rough patches, she made it through and came out rising like a phoenix.
Only one other player has managed to win more championships than her and that is Thyassa. Ember often admires Thyassa’s game play and hopes to tie the record and maybe one day surpass it. Ember knows it won’t be easy but it will be worth it.
Who knows what will be in store for the next competition? With a fiery attitude and no signs of stopping, no one should count Ember out of the race. Her consistent results and impressive statistics show that she’s only going up from here. May it be her fourth win or her 800th win, Ember’s going to train like she’s never won before. She wants to prove that she is the best and who knows? Maybe she’ll tie the championship record this year.