With Hardship Comes Ease

Subhaan Ashrafi

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 12.02.37 AMGrowing up as a kid, I would always think the dream job would be to play video games and talk about sports.

I’ve always had a passion for sports. I loved talking about sports and I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas about it as well. I will never forget the night when the Chicago Bulls lost against the Miami Heat in the playoffs of 2011. This is the night when I decided to upload a YouTube video talking about my thoughts on the game. After uploading this video I was exposed to my first audience, I was overwhelmed. When I first started making my YouTube videos, specifically about sports, I would receive a lot more hate than I expected. From horrible criticism, to an abundance of racist remarks, and many vulgar opinions, I wanted to quit YouTube. It wasn’t a good feeling uploading a video and seeing these horrible comments every single day.

Although I was on the verge of quitting YouTube in 2011 because of all the hate I received, I did notice that there were some individuals who showed some support toward my videos. The constructive criticism, heart-warming comments, and the support really kept my hopes and dreams alive; I continued to make YouTube videos. As my channel started to grow I decided to start playing video games and started to showcase that on my channel as well. With a combination of video games and sports on my channel, my channel started to blossom and the few individuals who started to support me ended up becoming a family.

After reaching a total 3,000 subscribers in January of 2012, I received great news. I was eligible to become a YouTube partner so I can get paid for my videos and share my sports and gaming thoughts with people around the world. I was the happiest boy alive. After telling my family and friends the great news, I received an email I will never forget. From YouTube, “Sorry, we are unable to partner your channel due toward technical errors.” Since contacting YouTube was impossible at that time, I knew my channel was never going to become partnered; I was devastated.

After a couple of months of thinking, I decided to start a new YouTube channel. Out of the 3,000 people who were subscribed to my old channel, only 300 re-subscribed. That was not easy for me to take, but this time I was ready to reach the sky. I continued to V-log about sports on a daily basis while playing video games and showcasing that as well. I would even go to sporting events and take pictures and talk about my experiences via videos. People on the web enjoyed that and I continued to grow. Finally, in the summer of 2012 I became a YouTube partner. With the entire struggle I went through to finally become a YouTube partner, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity.

Throughout all of 2012 and 2013 (my freshman year of college), I would upload videos whenever I had the chance. Embarrassing as it is, I even recorded a video on our school elevator in Kindlon because it was a low noise environment. I even uploaded a video at my hair salon’s washroom. With all this hard work and growth, I received more hate than ever. However, the support grew with it at an unbelievable level.
Gratefully, last year I had the opportunity to be flown out to California because of my YouTube channel to meet the developers of the sporting game I love and brand, NBA 2k. I couldn’t believe where a simple YouTube video in 2011 took me. I was so humbled and grateful. After achieving my biggest YouTube watermark, hitting 150,000 subscribers, I had the biggest opportunity in my life this past May of 2014. I had the privilege to be featured on a commercial with Kevin Durant, the NBA MVP, which aired live on national television during the NBA Finals.

If there is one thing I learned throughout my YouTube and Sports/Gaming career, is that one should never have pride. One should never put himself or herself above somebody else because everyone has feelings and everyone has a heart. I remember all the struggles I have gone through to get to this point, and I am truly grateful; my dream as a child is now a reality.