Weeks ago my family and I discovered this: a small game store that sells Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon trading cards. Upon the first attempt to enter the store, I was literally paralyzed with fear at the idea of entering such a small store where everyone could see me. Stage fright take note, you’ve been outclassed by social anxiety.
By the fourth time visiting the same store, being locked out of our apartment and having been pushed to the entrance by my brother (I am just now realizing that the store owner was probably watching me for the entire thirty minutes that it took for me to enter) I finally just gave up and walked into the store. I immediately went for the table and sat down, as my brother walked around to sit on the other side of the table, a person began walking towards us. After a brief conversation in Spanish, fighting the urge to bolt out of there as fast as possible, and a few quick games of magic, we learn that they hold tournaments there every Monday, Thursday, and occasionally Saturday. We thank the person and leave as quickly as possible. (At least, I do, my brother was trying to drag it out as long as possible.)
Next Thursday, my family approaches the store. I have no idea if anyone speaks English. I have no idea what format they’re playing. Is it Brawl? Standard? Modern? Legacy? Commander?! I have no clue! No one besides me even knows what any of those are! It is going to be a disaster! AND I left all my good cards back home. Nice. All the while, we are getting closer and closer, I had no idea what was next.
I enter the store, it’s nice, there’s eight or so people there, but it feels like twenty. My father approaches the front desk and asks if his sons can play. The person running the store (his name is Victor and he’s a great guy) explained what format it was, how to play it and even lent my brother one of HIS OWN decks to play. Victor, you’re amazing!
Needless to say, I was nervous and didn’t want to play, so I just watched Everett lose horribly. (He got last place.) To my surprise, most of the expensive (aka good) cards were in English, and I already knew most of the cards in standard right now. Everett, on the other hand, had no clue what any of the cards did. It was entertaining and I vowed, next week, I would be back.
For the first time, I actually looked forward to going to this little card store. Victor presented us with different decks to play. It turns out that Victor was a professional Magic player (yes, that is a real thing) and has placed in multiple NATIONAL championships. I chose a really fun and aggressive Adeliz, the Cinderwind, which looks to kill my opponents before they can even dream to stop me, and it worked! I fought my way upwards, sword and cardboard in my hand, I managed to place 3rd, only losing once at the very end. It was fun and I got prizes from it! Everett managed to do better (compared to his first attempt) and placed 7th.
The next time I went, people began to recognize me. I placed 3rd again and got more prizes. So far, I have fought in the pits (figuratively, people there are really nice and civilized) three times, and have placed third in all three, somehow managing to best Victor, something which I have not seen before. I hope to back there again tonight. Wish me luck.