My name is Wen Fu and I been playing Magic on and off since I opened my first pack of Revised and started grinding matches at the lunch table. I love the joy of chasing down cards, building decks, flipping through binders, and sharing those memorable Friday nights and weekends with friends. When I first started playing Magic, tournaments took place at most once a week at our local game store. Fast forward 15 years, every weekend is filled with SCG Opens, PTQ, TCG series, Grand Prixs, and maybe even your local LGS premier event. Even Pro Players have voiced their concern about the grind and many players simply cannot keep up living the dream of a Pro Magic Player.
But many of us forget that 15 years ago, we were in grade school with no obligations other than math homework and to physically show up to English class. Today most of us have full time jobs, families, and other adult obligations. While at times I envy those who can play Magic as much as they want and continue on that amazing journey, I know that no matter how much I love and am addicted to this game, I have obligations that take precedence. I could not have played Magic for 18 years without having to take a few sabbaticals in between. I first took a year off during Invasion block, I wanted to focus on my junior year studies to get ready for college… my education came first. I got right back in senior year and played until Mirrodin and left the game again not because of the Arcbound Ravager fiasco but life threw me a curve ball and I decided that my family came first. The decisions to leave the game, even temporarily was not an easy one. It was heartbreaking selling my collection to the local game store and where I got pennies on the dollar (I am pretty sure I sold Underground Seas for less than $10 each).
I joined the military in 2005 and there was a valuable lesson that I learned in those 4 years and I wanted to share with the community. The phrase that was beat into us in boot camp was that no matter what happens or is going on in your life, the mission comes first. The United States built the world’s most powerful military not because we have the most advanced weapons or badass stealth aircrafts, but because of 2 million service members who always puts the needs of others first- the oath to serve the people of the United States.
Many weekends I find myself with plans to party with friends in New York City, go clubbing in Old City Philadelphia, or just to play FNM. However, Friday evening I would get a phone call from my command that went along the lines of “Your plans have changed”. I was angry, frustrated, and most of all disappointed because my plans just went into the hole and had to make the dreaded phone call to my friends to let them know I have to take a rain check. There were times I spent hundreds of dollars on a magic deck, countless playtest hours, read forums, arrange transportation but ended up missing the event because our squadron decided that they wanted someone to sit at the duty desk over the weekend because somebody might call for directions. Being in the military it made me realize that Magic is like any other hobby, it is just a game and you have to know that you cannot lose focus on the more important things around you. While Magic sucks up a LOT of money it sucks up something that is much more valuable, your time.
Just like a few years ago, I planned and wanted to go to PTQs, SCG opens, FNMs, and Pre-releases. I even dropped a few grand foiling out my modern deck to look pimp for the next PTQ season and I lost track of the hours I talked to friends and reading articles. In the past year months, I went to one tournament….yes a whole ONE. How did this happen? Well because of a wonderful woman I met a year ago. Recently, I made plans to attend a SCG open, FNMs, and Pre-Releases because I thought I had a free weekend but she would call me Thursday and say she wanted to see a movie that weekend and spend time with me. While I wasn’t raging nearly as much because it is much better seeing her than sitting at a duty desk, I was still disappointed because I spent so much time and effort building, prepping, and hyping myself up for these tournaments. But at the end of the day I know that when I ditch my loved ones to play this game I love, it eventually takes its toll. While I was disappointed at the time, I never regret that decision one bit because this game will always be there for me when I am ready to play. I “quit” Magic numerous times to focus on school, my love life, and develop my professional career and when I returned it took me maybe a week to catch up. However, if you quit on your loved ones, significant other, or your boss to play Magic even for just a day it will take them much longer than a week to make amends.
Don’t get me wrong, I met some of my closest and best friends through this game. I defend this game because my parents think I’m still acting immature playing a “children’s card game”. But for all my MTG community people… please never lose sight that Magic is a want, not a need. Magic will always be there for you when you want to pick it up and grind some commander or dust off those legacy decks but your loved ones might not. I can guarantee you down the road when you look back that you will NEVER regret skipping a PTQ, Pre-release, or even a GP because you spent that time instead with your loved ones. But you might regret skipping out on a loved one to go to that event because let’s face it, Magic is more forgiving than most people. So don’t feel bad having to cancel your MTG plans once in a while to go catch up with old friends, spend time with your significant other, or to put in that little extra effort for that project at work instead of rushing out Friday afternoon to play FNM- in the end you won’t regret it.
Magic will always be the best game ever because it will always be here waiting for you when you are ready to come back. It did for me, and it will for you.
Thanks for reading.
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