Seventeen years ago I reached my hand into my Christmas stocking… I pulled out a booster pack of Magic cards.
Here I am. It has been a WILD RIDE.
The Gift of Gaming
I can not overstate the value of gaming in the development of human beings- children and adults. Mental and physical games side by side are incredibly beneficial. You SHOULD play games and you SHOULD encourage your children to play games. And you should have confidence that gaming IS productive and IS beneficial to both the gamer AND greater society.
In games you learn:
How to emotionally deal with yourself and opponents in defeat or victory.
How to emotionally deal with yourself and teammates in defeat or victory.
Acceptance of things you can’t control, and focus on things you can control.
Through gaming. you will learn how to SMASH standardized tests to get into school. And in school, gaming will teach you alternative life strategy so that when you graduate you will not just “have a job,” but have work that is fulfilling.
Games also bring you close to people. Your teammates and competitors may be your siblings. They are people like you—you have seen how their emotions play out in the game, and they have seen yours. A bond is created between you that is strong and intimate. All because you share the same love for a game.
Now is a good time to give gifts. If you want to make a difference, give the gift of gaming. That could be a booster pack of Magic cards, it could be a chess board, or it could be a basketball. It could be simply your presence at the gaming table. THIS is the most powerful gift. THIS is a gift from which the recipient can learn for a lifetime.
My journey is filled with tears, laughter, hatred, love, frustration, satisfaction, longing, and belonging. It is a tale of a complainer and blamer slowly becoming a responsible adult. It is the tale of a quiet, shy child slowly becoming a loud, confident leader. It is a tale of a selfish brat slowly becoming a community leader through a card game.
I was lucky. My parents gave my brother and me board games, card games, video games, and computer games. They enrolled us in team sports. They gave us balls and bats and said GO PLAY, with CONFIDENCE that the gaming was productive.
And it was. It is.
What some people see as goofing off turned out to be hard work. Hours in the back yard, hours at the kitchen table, and hours in front of the computer turned out to be productive, foundational hours.
At each stage of my life, I can tell you how Magic helped me develop. I can explain how Magic taught me how to trade in elementary school. I can explain how Magic taught me to be PROUD of who I am in high school. I can tell you Magic taught me that hard work pays off in college. And I can tell you that Magic is much, much, more than a game today. It is productive. It is fulfilling. It is a learning tool and a way of life.
Gaming is the pursuit of knowledge. It is the pursuit of practice. The pursuit of teamwork. The pursuit of success. The pursuit of community recognition. The pursuit of changing a community for the better. Children want to play. Adults want to play. And they SHOULD play.
Logistics change. People come and go. But 17 years later I am still playing and the game is still here. If I am alive, I will still be here in 17 years. And if I’m not, the game, and this community will be here.
Where were you when you started gaming? Where were you when you held a Magic card for the first time? And where are you now?
You might be able to think back to early childhood memories playing games with your parents and siblings. You might be able to think back to playing games with friends from school. You might be able to remember having gaming parties with friends on the weekends. Why do we do this? Is it just goofing off?
Whether you realize it yet or not, YOU have learned a lot from gaming. You have learned a lot from THIS game. It has brought you closer to your family, and closer to friends. Think about it, and you will realize that you are not just a gamer, but that you are a hard-working human being with an expanded knowledge from a pursuit of gaming.
Your journey started many years ago and it has many years to go. If you are alive, you will still be here. This game will still be here. And this community will still be here.
The Gift of Community
Here I am. This is my work. This is what I do. This is how I produce for society. And I will continue to do what I do until the day I die. Truthfully. I have not slowed down since I started, and I will not slow down before I finish.
Many of you come here for the Magic cards. That’s how I started too. But I’m hoping that you stay for something more—the pursuit of change and improvement and fitness THROUGH Magic cards. Of yourselves and of the community.
Sometimes it is hard to see, but the cards are a vehicle for change. The change starts with our play. Our play affects our thinking. Our thinking affects our behavior. We win more at the table, we win more at life.
You are my community—the Magic community. And I am your community. Do you have an LGS? Do you have a Facebook? Do you have a message board? Then you have a voice in this community. BE LOUD! Let your community know what is good and what needs to be improved. Let the world know that YOU BELIEVE IN GAMING. The world will believe as you do.
The community will give back to you. They will give you free advice. They will give you free content. Some will give you free cards. They will give you the Gift of Community. Enjoy it! And know that giving back is as simple as being LOUD about why this game is great.
This Christmas, sit down with your family and play a board game. Play a card game. Play any kind of game, but PLAY A GAME. You give out a booster pack this Christmas and it might change a life, and that life might go on to change the world. One tiny little booster pack is all it takes.
This Christmas, give the gift of gaming!
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