Pro Tour Avacyn Restored was a bit of a big deal for me. I wasn’t in the tournament. I wasn’t atthe tournament. I didn’t even have a handle on the meta game for Block Constructed.
My cards, however, made a good showing in Barcelona. And my friends did, too. That has been the case for the last several Pro Tour and Grand Prix events. It has got me thinking about the relationship of the old gray-haired gamers like myself to these nimble-minded young ruffians we have running around these days. It also has me thinking about the interaction between local communities and the event coverage staff.
I would love to be in a position to play Magic competitively. I’m good. Not great, but I’m good. With practice and access to a dedicated testing group, I could be very good. Life has taken me in different directions, though. Like many 40-ish year old gamers, I have commitments in the form of family, community and career that prevent me from lavishing time on the quest to ride the Pro Tour train.
I pretty much get to play Magic once per quarter. I try and make it a pre-release if the timing cooperates. Every once in a blue moon the kids will need a quiet, early evening and the weather will suck badly enough that I can sneak away to throw down in an FNM. That’s about it for my “competitive” play availability.
So, how do us aging gamers keep a foot in the door? Gamers are addicts. We’re not just professional geeks. It’s biological. It’s in our DNA. We don’t get to choose to turn off the interest when our declining availability precludes us from performing at the top of our game. How then do we maintain a connection to the greater gaming community? Also, and this is critically important as we are all by definition min-maxers, how do we stay relevant in our communities?
There are two ways. There may well be others, but these are the two that have developed comfortably for me in my current situation.
First, I may not be available to play. I damn sure can be available to enable some of the younger guys, though. At forty and backed up by several decades of good jobs and wise investments supporting myself and my family, I have access to resources that aren’t available to many of the younger gamers. I don’t have time, but I do have disposable income. Much more of a collector than a player right now, I’ve found and filled a niche in our community’s local gaming meta.
I’m the card guy.
Over the last several years, I’ve become the guy to hit up for those pesky Uncommons that no one expected would warp the format. I’m the guy to see if you need a couple Mythics to fill out the playset in your under-the-radar Standard deck. Running a cardboard library isn’t really where I saw myself when I started to become interested in competitive Magic. However, it’s a comfortable role for me. It’s one that I feel necessary for the health and growth of our local community and also for me to stay connected to the scene.
Staying connected to the scene leads me to my second point. I’ll cover that in the next day or two.