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2.28.02  A GREATER SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Well, the Olympics have come and gone and that has left me with a bit of time for some reflection.  I am a pretty big sports fan.  I like all kinds of sports.  I even watch sumo wrestling on ESPN2 late at night every now and then.  No lies, this is the honest truth!  Anyway, I was watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and realized that there was a huge sense of community in those games.  It was a sense of a world community.  To put things in perspective, we had more troops appointed to the winter Olympic games than we had stationed over in Afghanistan.  That tells you how important these events were to the world.

Iím sure you all are wondering what all this has to do with Magic.  Trust me, Iím getting there.  We are fortunate to be able to participate in a game that has developed its own world community.  You can walk up to anyone at a Grand Prix or Pro Tour event, break out a deck, and play a game.  The two players donít even have to be able to speak the same language.  Both players just understand the pictures, nod and point, and smile and frown when a card is topdecked.

The one thing that canít be reinforced enough is the fact that Magic is an interactive game.  Itís about laughing, joking, trash talking, smiling, frowning, pouting, story telling, triumphs, and defeats.  Itís about recounting your best play.  Itís about the embarrassment you friend provide when talking about one of your worst plays.

We have even developed online communities.  We have our favorite websites to visit.  In this day and age, several websites work on linking back and forth to each other to promote each others hard work.  Those are the types of examples we need in our community.  Everyone takes many things for granted.  The players arenít always truly appreciative of what they have been given.  Many players came from out of town to play at our store for the first time and were amazed.  They complimented us on everything.  Yet our local players donít realize how spoiled they are.

Online we were alerted to astonishing news from both Brainburst.com and NeutralGround.com on the same deck.  Brainburst let go of their editor.  The readers were confused.  Why did he have to be let go?  Here they were going to the site everyday.  However, when they donít purchase from them, they canít make money.  honestly, if nothing else, click on a banner ad for your favorite websites.  Even if you donít buy anything, at least click on the banner and look around a bit.  do the same for us here at Pojo.  Click on our banners and at least take a look around.  This will please our advertisers and help keep our doors open.  Neutral Ground was being sold.  Fortunately itís not being shutdown.  I do want to publicly wish the old management a happy future.

Owning a game store allows me to hear the wants and complaints from players of other games.  Most things they wish to have, we already have in the Magic community.  Magic is the grandfather of them all, and weíve developed a lot for it over the long haul.

I think time should be taken to strengthen each of the different aspects of the game.  Not so much be companies, retailers, and manufacturers.  I am thinking more from a players perspective.  

New players should look for advice from experienced players.  Research stuff on the internet.  Take the time to learn what your cards do.  Donít feel bad about getting deck help.  donít feel embarrassed.  You canít get better without some experience and help.  Go to your local game store twice a week if you can.  Get help form the local players.  Play some games to learn the rules better.

Mid-level players should pay attention to their rating.  Attend larger events.  Attend your weekly Friday Night Magic.  Get to know more players in the tournament scene.  Learn from your mistakes.  Be innovative.  Donít be afraid to be creative.  Also, donít step ahead of yourself.  Still realize that you have a lot to learn.

Experienced/Pro players.  You guys should be the example to the rest of the Magic community.  You are the examples.  Teach the younger players how to play.  Explain the rules.  I think experienced players donít attend tournaments enough.  I think the experienced players attending local tournaments is very important to the Magic community.  It gives some of the less experienced players something to look forward to.  It also gives some of the emerging players a challenge.

Retailers should try to accommodate the players as best they can.  Host events.  Give decent prizes.  Keep information handy for new players that may not understand.  Try to learn as much about the game as you can.  Every little bit helps.

Going back to the Olympics, Iím sure that many of you got to here the hype about Apolo Anton Ohno.  He is a very good speed skater.  The media was touting him as an Olympic hopeful to win four gold medals.  Anyone in their right mine knows that asking one person to win four gold medals is just asking for too much.  However, he was well in the lead (as far as speed skating goes) in the short track event the skater in second, I believe he was Japanese), slipped and pulled Ohno down.  The two of them falling also took out the next two skaters.  The guy in fifth, from Australia ends of crossing the line first for the win.  Many athletes would have been furious at this strange turn of events.  However, Apolo was a class act.  When the media came to him looking for anger, he simply said, "Sometimes our sport is just like that.  I was lucky to still pick up the silver."  Thatís a class act.

Flip back to Magic for a second.  Think about how many times youíve seen a respected player gripe about manascrew or a mana flood even though it only happened to them once in their last 15 or 20 games.  Iím not saying he should like the mana problems, but just accept them as part of the game.  It happens to infrequently to experienced players, that it amazes me when I see them blow up.  You should accept those situations with class and set the example.

Another good chance to build up relationships with different players is during playtesting.  When you are breaking decks out against each other and trying to find out which is best, every opinion can be important.  You might have a new guy helping you build decks and play, but that one idea for a sideboard card might turn out to be the one main difference that you need to win more matches.  New players simply like being involved in projects with experienced players.  This goes for any sport.

Also, donít forget about outsider impressions.  If more people are walking away with positive experiences from playing this game, then more people will support it.  Thatís what we really want here anyway.  More player.  More fans.  More money. A long life for the game.

Sharing knowledge and experiences with more players ensures the game will be around longer.  Itís important to create more positive experiences.  Itís especially important for pro players to set the example and spread knowledge.  The more players and fans of the game there are, the more money there will be on the pro circuit to win.

I try to do my part to support the Magic community.  I love the game.  I love the experiences.  Honestly, going to tournaments and playing for the prizes is only half the fun.  Going and traveling with buddies, and meeting up with friends makes it all more worth it.

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
PowrDragn@pojo.com 

 

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