Once Team Butts gets together on a server, we are invariably split up due to auto balance. This isn't much of a handicap, since the only way Team Butts can perform worse individually is when we are united. Upon joining, Butts Chat is filled with constant attempts at one-upmanship, as everyone tries to prove his team is by far the worst on the server. Initially it's a simple game of looking at the class roster; debates will rage over which is worse, five engineers or nothing but soldiers and heavies with no medics. My fellow Butts and I quickly descend into the madness, attempting to bring order to a world ruled by chaos and 11 spies.
Our efforts are invariably rendered useless, our teams stubbornly refusing to actively pursue victory. Meanwhile, extended play and observations soon cause Butts Chat to become more heated. Butt Eric may ask if Butt Justin saw that medic attempting to bonesaw the heavy-medic combo taking our point, heavy first; Justin in turn may point out half his team has changed to Sniper during Sudden Death. Butt Enoch will decry the lack of sentry guns or teleporters while we have three engineers standing around and wrestle with the idea of becoming a fourth just so we have some kind of defense. As for me, I'm most often caught screaming about my team all switching to the class I just picked because no one else was playing it. And it happens all the time; as you can imagine, I often end gaming sessions hoarse and shaking.
And let's not forget Steam, a software package surely spawned by the unholy union of Gabe Newell and Satan in the guise of a ham sandwich. If you're armed with a speedy behemoth computer this may not apply to you; additionally, I sincerely hope your face rots off. On my computer, Steam spreads like a virulent plague, a computerized cancer that has neither pity nor remorse and will stop at nothing until it devours every functional part of the PC. The rage generated by an errant press of the Windows key or "alt-tab" is truly unmatched, and burns all the way down.
However, sometimes this masochistic exercise in frustration simply isn't enough. That is when we turn to the real ego grinder, Halo 3. The 4-vs.-4 format makes Halo 3 a perfect match for Team Butts; if only Team Butts was a perfect match for Halo 3. My very first step upon joining a lobby is to mute every non-Butt member. As much as I'd like to help contribute to the team dynamic and coordinate strategies and enemy reinforcements, it's not worth constantly hearing how my mother is a gay, herpes-riddled walrus by whom the shouter had been fellated repeatedly the previous night.
Even without the distracting verbal soup that makes up Xbox Live, which happens to be a tangy blend of homophobic cursing and racial slurs, we find no sanctuary. It's painful to admit, but our dreadful Halo 3 performance falls more at the feet of individual members and not on the game itself. Some of us refuse to set our controller sensitivity lower than 10, others are playing on blurry, standard definition television sets with poor color contrasts, and a key Team Butts rule is "never hesitate to fire a shot at an enemy," even if a teammate may be in the way. Especially if a teammate is in the way.