Which means that I'll probably be bugging you for the rest of your life, and I'll only refer to you as a number! ;)
One thing that I remember from early on was that I was convinced that you had played before. You just seemed really familiar, even the name. Now that I know you were following other players in past seasons, it could be that I'd just seen your name in the poll often enough that something clicked when I saw it again.
I first started hearing about you being a threat maybe around the Top 50 or so. There were a handful of names being thrown around in conversations about who people thought was going to win. I'd been enjoying your work before that point, but it did make me start thinking of you in a new light. Especially since you were one of the few newbies in that conversation. Newbies have a really good track record when in comes to winning regular seasons.
What interested me the most about you being identified that way is that I saw your work as a steady pulse during the course of the competition. You just kept going, putting out quality work every week without many stumbles and definitely without drama. You were often engaged in helpful and constructive conversations with your peers, who clearly thought highly of you. These are things that *I* tend to look for when trying to identify a potential winner. So it was interesting to see that other people were starting to pick up on those traits as well!
To me, it felt like when we hit the Top 9, you switched into a different gear. It was like you could see the finish line, even though I know you were doubting you would get there, it didn't feel like your writing had any doubts whatsoever.
Even with a few close calls toward the end, it never felt like a surprise to see you get to the next round, and the next, and the next... seeing you in the finale seemed like a natural progression.
You showed up and shared your life in quiet and beautiful ways.
You stayed up to see polls close and were asleep when the new topics were posted, giving you less time than everyone else - in one of the many other languages you happen to know!
If the season's story is about the winner, then Season 11 is about simple moments and kind gestures of gratitude. It's about overcoming self doubt and finding something inside of yourself by just pushing a little more.
It's about hope.
The story of dadi is about hope.