Thursday, May 26, 2011

Overcoming the Odds

It was August of 2010. My husband and his friend, Mark Evans, had been playing an online wrestling game for some time but the owners of that game were more interested in the money than they were in the players. The two of them were frustrated by the experience. Mark knew Randy was very good at computer programming and encouraged him (pushed, really) to start his own game. Randy finally listened and Universal Wrestling Experience or UWE was conceived.

Randy worked on the code and Mark recruited volunteers to test and staff the game. Three months in and Randy wasn't getting anywhere. The staff didn't understand what he needed from them and he wasn't understanding the obstacles the staff were facing. I left my job over a contract dispute and began working to coordinate the staff. It boiled down to me getting Randy to share with me his vision of how things would work and me translating that for the staff, then communicating to Randy the problems the staff were facing in carrying out his requests so that he could build the appropriate tools to streamline the process. My efforts meant that things went from a complete deadlock with no work being done to the game reaching beta within 6 weeks of my coming on board.

Players who couldn't get along with anyone over at the other wrestling game came to our place and found acceptance and encouragement to be their better selves. One player, in particular, had a reputation for getting himself kicked off and banned from sites like ours. He became one of our greatest assets, and as I got to know him I discovered that he was a sweet kid who just needed some guidance in personal relationships. From the beginning of my joining the team, I prayed that God would make our game an instrument of His divine will.

It seemed as if success was within reach. The game was generating enough donations from the testers and staff to pay for itself. Then, our home lives took a turn for the worse. Financial problems led to a bout of homelessness and development came to a screeching halt as we struggled to get our family back on its feet. We got a job offer for Randy at a radio station in Elko, and there just wasn't time to develop because there was so much work to do at the station. Mark and I both worried that the game was going to die before it really had a chance to live. Efforts to coax Randy into working on the game again seemed to go nowhere. It was as if he had lost the heart for it. Mark and I both prayed over it.

Then, he lost his job in Elko. Our family van was in no shape to travel to Texas even if we had the money to go. Randy got the inspiration on how to rework the game completely so that it was easier to implement and still fun to play. He began pouring himself into the game. This past Sunday, we took it live. I know this would not have happened without God to help us do it. For man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

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