[Realm of Memories is a series where we reflect on our absolute favorite moments in Zelda games. These could be the times we first fell in love with a game, were moved by the events of the story or actions of a character, felt triumphant when overcoming a tough boss or challenge, or we had an experience so unique that the adventure truly became our own. The Zelda series has touched our lives in many ways, and just as Hyrule has endless stories to share, so do our writers!]

Twilight Princess has and always will hold a special place in my heart. It has been my favorite Legend of Zelda game since it came out, and I knew it would be from the amount of time I put into that game. If you’ve read my previous article on the subject, just the wait in itself was an adventure, and once I finally owned the game I would play non-stop throughout the week, and it started getting to my head.

Every day when I got home from school I would rush to the basement (or the dungeon as I call it) and continue my adventure in Twilight Princess. During my first playthrough, I liked to take my time to enjoy the story and the environments and soak it all in, so I really took my time with it. When I went back to school the next day, I would always share with my friends an amazing thing that I discovered about the game, whether it was a major item find or something as minor as the silly dialogue when you try and take things from the Castle Town market.

For a week, this game was the only thing I could talk about and the only thing I could think of — which made for a very interesting gym class one day. We were playing a game of dodgeball, which I had somewhat enjoyed but never really been too active in before. This time around I had the Hero’s Spirit in me and I went all out. I was in the front line chucking balls whenever one came my way. I wasn’t brave enough to try and catch any, but was I dodging them like a pro!

After a while, I was one of the few left on my team. There weren’t many on the other side either, so we still had a chance. I was keeping on my toes in the style of Link. I had been playing so much Twilight Princess, I had been mimicking Link’s evasive movements. The way I jumped from side to side was near identical to his side-dodge in the game (at least from my perspective). I don’t know if it actually happened or not, but I could have sworn I even did a roll to escape one of the incoming dodge balls. Regardless, I know I was for sure copying Link when I was finally struck out. Why was I hit? When one ball was headed straight for me, it was too late for me to jump out of the way, so I resorted to using my shield.

Problem was I didn’t actually have a shield.

I knelt down on one knee, put my arm out in front of my face and blocked the ball from hitting my body. In the game, I would have protected myself from taking damage, but in real life, I was out.

I don’t remember if we won or lost, but that single memory always sticks with me. I had become so used to watching Link that I started to mimic him without even realizing it. Of course, I did once I felt the spongey ball hit my arm, but it made me wonder if I was copying Link in any other ways. Turns out I was.

Whenever I would jump, I would let out a little “hup!” (and I still have that habit to this day). But in all honesty, Link isn’t the worst character to imitate (most of the time. Use common sense. Don’t hit chickens). I did really well in a sport I was never really all that invested in before. I was enjoying myself and it made me feel good about myself. To this day I like to be more adventurous on my nature hikes that I take every now and again just from exploring the vast plains in Breath of the Wild. It has inspired me to be more daring and to take the time to appreciate nature a little more. I hope Link and The Legend of Zelda keep inspiring me to take more chances and enjoy my life outside of the game as much as it did back then.