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CHAPTER TWENTY – LEGENDS IN THEIR OWN MINDS
Once they had all replenished their drinks and had returned to their seats, the Commander told Liam and Sully that he wanted to show them something and then instructed Veles to display the Clan stats.
On the holographic screens in front of them the lads saw a table of stats appear. As they studied them they soon worked out that these were actual and extremely up to date XBox Clan Stats.
“These stats show the top fifteen XBox WOT™ Clans graded accorded to number or members.” The Commander explained. “Now obviously they don’t include linked clans – such as Celts and Celtz – as they only show the number of members assigned to each individual clan as per clan tags. But currently the Celts are number 13 out of all 561 clans currently registered.”
Liam and Sully looked at each other.
“And of those top fifteen clans only five of them have a higher activity rate.” He added.
“But our win rate and our WN rates aren’t the best.” Liam observed.
“No that is true.” The Commander agreed. “but remember we are not talking about involving every clan member. Only certain clan members have or will be selected and additionally as I said before many factors – reliability, individual game skills, tendency to moments of brilliance in respect of game play, loyalty etc and yes even psychological profiles come into play.”
He went quiet for a moment and allowed the lads to study the stats before them.
“And there is another essential factor which comes into play here.” He told them after a minute or two. “The role each player takes on within teams and the way they interacts with their teams – and especially their platoons.”
“Have you ever noticed that some players aren’t just about the kills or the damage caused?” Kevin asked. “How for some players it is more about supporting and protecting their platoon mates.”
“Or how some players are quite content to quietly play the game without having to be the hero or the centre of attention?” The Commander asked.
“I know that there are a lot of players who instantly blame the rest of the team when they get killed even though they went off on their own or made stupid mistakes.” Sully commented. It was an observation that a lot of players would have made.
“And how so many of them claim to be, or seem to want to give the appearance that they are, ‘experts’ or ‘professional tankers’ as Janey – SassyBritchz, (Kevin’s Daughter) – and I call them?” Kevin observed.
“But the fact is that 99.9% of the time at best they aren’t as good as they think and at worst they haven’t got the first idea what they are talking about.” The Commander observed. “They are, not to put too fine a point on it – simply legends in their own minds, and in their on minds only.”
“Well yes, that is certainly true.” Liam agreed.
“And there certainly are enough of them.” Sully added.
“A good leader, especially a good military leader,” the Commander explained, “knows the skills and talents of his team and delegates and utilizes them accordingly. Doing so is intrinsic to his character. I remember General Schwarzkopf – he was the Commander In Chief, US Central Command during the Golf War – once saying, “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” It’s a wise statement. And if there is one thing that our reports show that a ‘Celt’ seems to have over and above anything else, it is character.”
Again Liam and Sully looked at each other and again the sense of pride that they had in their clan mates told them that they didn’t disagree with the Commander’s statement.
“So what exactly do you need from us?” Liam asked. “Having heard what you have both said, and knowing our clan members as we do, I can fully understand why the Celts Clan have been chosen. But why bring us in? Why tell us all this? Why not simply link us into these battles without telling us in the same way as you are doing with others? There must be a reason for your telling Sully and I all this?”
“Well actually I have already just told you why, Liam.” The Commander answered plainly. “It’s because a good leader, especially a good military leader, knows the skills and talents of his team and delegates and utilizes them accordingly.” He looked at Liam and then at Sully.
“Kevin here doesn’t serve in the role that he serves because he is an ace tank player. In fact, and I mean no offence by this and he himself would be the first to admit it, he is an average player at best.” He briefly looked at Kevin, who simply smiled and nodded in agreement.
“Instead,” The Commander continued, “he serves in the role that he does, because he is particularly skilled in other ways. And the same applies to you both. Liam, you aren’t here because of your game or tank skills – although yes they are a part of it, you are here because of your leadership skills. Skills which are essential in a good Clan Commander in Chief.” And so as to emphasise the sincerity of his statement he looked Liam straight in the eye as he said that.
“And Sully,” The Commander continued, turning his gaze to Sully as he was speaking, “you also have some good game skills. But likewise, you are here because, whilst you also have some leadership skills – although you might not be too willing to accept that, you have support skills which are essential in an Executive Officer.”
For a moment or two, the Commander seemed hesitate. Not in a nervous or apprehensive way but more in a deliberate way. It seemed to Sully, Liam and Kevin alike that he was thinking of the best way to say what he wanted to say. Seemed to be formulating his explanation.
“For me to be able to employ and utilise a player’s tank or game skills so as to win a battle which is linked up to an online game,” the Commander explained, “that player doesn’t need to know that link even exists. But for me to employ and utilise your leadership skills, and Sully’s leadership support skills, so as to achieve the training, the loyalty, the stability and the sustainability within your clan which I, which this project. which society as we know it needs, then you both have to be aware of the requirements and needs, and yes the expectations, that are being placed upon you both.”
For what seemed like absolutely ages, neither Liam nor Sully said anything. Both simply sitting and processing both the truth and indeed the gravity of what the Commander had just said. So long in fact was the silence that had resulted from the Commander’s statement, that he couldn’t help wondering if he hadn’t perhaps just caused them to doubt the wisdom of their decision to help.
“No pressure then” Sully suddenly commented with a smile. Much to the relief of the Commander. But that was one of Sully’s little ways. He had this ability and indeed a tendency to break the tension with casually humorous statements.
“The biggest challenge facing you both now.” Kevin told Liam and Sully. “Is not how you build the clan’s numbers, or increase it’ skills base, or how you keep the clan at the same level or standard in respect of the loyalty and camaraderie and stability and sustainability that we have already discussed. Its not any of that. It’s how you do all that without allowing what you now know – and the implications of what you now know – to affect your relationships and leadership styles.”
“I need to walk.” Sully announced.
“Yeah. We both need to walk.” Liam agreed.
“Walk?” The Commander asked.
“Don’t worry, I am fairly sure that they don’t mean they have changed their minds.” Kevin reassured the Commander. “They simply mean they need to walk for a bit. It’s one of the ways that Sully – and to a lesser extent Liam – deal with serious matters and tense situations.” Kevin explained.”
“Oh I see.” A very relieved Commander said. “Well how about I show your the Operational Command Room?” He suggested. “I wanted to answer your previous question about the maps and it is easier to do so there and there is also something very important that I wanted to show you there.” He told them “And we don’t have to go straight there. En-route I can show you some of the other facilities and departments that we have and then go to the OCR (Operational Command Room). That way you get to have a fairly good walk.”