I’m pretty sure I’ve hinted or outright said that I am a fan of Magic: The Gathering. But, I don’t think I’ve ever made it clear just how much I love the game. Because of life stuff, I had to spend years not being able to play, and, every few months I got an itch in my soul that would last for days. I had a friend who would come over to play, and it was like stepping back into a magical world that I visited when I was younger.
I missed it so much it hurt.
But, lately, I found space—I found room—and the cards are flowing back out of my mind. Old strategies and terminology that I had lost use for coming back to me. It’s like what they say about riding a bike. Magic is part of me in a way that I did not even realize.
I am going to repeat this so it’s clear: I missed it so damn much.
And it helps me immensely, in a way.
When I am worried, when I am upset, it works as something so complicated that I can simply bury my anxiousness in playing out strategies in my mind. I imagine it’s a lot the same for chess players. Once you’ve played enough, you can run entire games out in your head.
I’ll just sit or pace and think about cards.
And then there’s the community. Magic has the usual nerd culture gender bias, sadly, as it’s very much a male-dominated game, but, barring that unfortunate—and hopefully remedied eventually—disparity, it’s a place where I always feel welcome.
In a card shop, all are one. This will sound sappy, but, when I go to play with people, my job doesn’t really matter, my age doesn’t matter, where I’m from, what my political allegiance is—it’s all gone.
The only important thing is: can I play? Can I play well? Can I talk Magic—and am I nice to others when I do so? If yes, then the Magic community will open its arms to me.
Sure, there are some issues. It’s addictive; it’s expensive. People have no clue how big the secondary economy is and how much money goes into it. But, it takes me away from screens, and makes me socialize on a mass scale, and is one of the best mental exercises I’ve come across in my life.
Everyone needs a hobby. I went away, and Magic found me as soon as I was ready. It was a little different, but, the same basic game, the same basic community of nice nerds slinging spells.
Everyone needs a hobby.
And this one is mine.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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