"Magic Life: Dealing with Poison"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.
For those of you who know me( I am counting about 10 hands right now) , you are probably reading this and saying to yourself: "Oh there he goes again talking about Poison and Infect and How poison counters are the best."
I agree. Those things are the best and I will keep making decks about them and keep writing about them but for today I just have to talk about a different kind of poison. Something that does not include counters but feels just as heavy and much worse. This is the poisoning one does to ones mind.
After watching the wonderful Documentary about Magic:The Gathering pros entitled Enter the Battlefield I was moved by the story of one Chris who has always been on the brink of Hall of Fame voting and who in the 1990's dominated magic tournaments. His story goes like this , in a match up where he was about to win he had unwittingly decided not to play the card Inflame which was in his hand. The result was devastation as he lost the game and with it the chance of becoming a Hall of Famer or at least the chance of it in his mind.
From this time on the shock stayed with him and he had carried the card Inflame in his wallet for a good number of years as a constant reminder of his loss. Maybe this was his way of coping with the situation and that through facing this disappointment he will go on and move forward.This is a very mature thought process but one that I have to disagree with.
Carrying this card is poison. Inflame Inflames that memory and lets it linger rather than help him. I do not know the guy but I am trying to put myself in his shoes. He was obviously pretty upset and the trauma of that day haunts him even now. He might have improved but in my book one should not drink the same poison day by day in hopes to get immune to it. Something will eventually die both physically and metaphysically.
The same applies to us who play with different stakes in Magic. We play for Glory , For Pride , For rewards. We all have different reasons and though some of us succeed and go on to greater things like Protour and World Magic Cup , the harsh reality is that most of us will not. And there will be really close matches that will always be in our minds when we play but don't let those things define you. Do not let it poison your passion. Failing is as much part of the process as is winning. I respect Chris's approach with his problem but I offer you something else. To let your focus be on the things that make you want to play the game and not on the things that almost make you want to quit the game you love.
Standard is already expensive and the stakes are always high so you may not notice it but you are already poisoning yourself with too much negativity that you are weighed down by it even before you draw your first card. Empty your mind and see what you are capable of doing. Be in every play. Be there with your opponent and let the things that weigh you down fall away.
And whatever you do. Never bring the card that burned you.