L.A. Dreams: Why I won’t be playing PT: Honolulu

There is a good chance I am qualified off Planeswalker points for Pro Tour Honolulu. Currently I am ranked 23rd in the world discounting GP Milan and SCG Nashville. Given that I can expect 10 North americans to be in the top 85, and about 20 non-north americans to be in the top 100 I am guessing being in the top 85 is about 98% likely to mean an invite to the PT. With almost a 200 point lead against anyone beyond 80th I am pretty confident that I will qualify as long as I do well at FNM. So why wouldn’t I play at Pro Tour Honolulu if I did manage to qualify and have my ticket paid for?

I had to lead in with a shocking title because there is a question every magic player should ask themselves.

Why am I playing Magic?

Some can give a quick reply and say for fun and to hang out with friends. Some people play FNM to get their promo because they’re collectors. Then there’s people that are looking for something more. People like me. I have a drive to win tournaments. I have goals I want to accomplish in the Magic world. The real problem I found was how to rank these goals. Is going to the Pro Tour worth saving up a few hundred dollars when you’re unemployed?  Is it worth trying to take off time from a job you just started? Spending time away from your wife? Making it so you can’t visit your family that year unless you prize?

What is the real cost to playing in this Pro tour?

I may still attend the Pro Tour if I qualify, but I have taken a step back to analyze what it will cost me. as many know I move from Florida, USA to British Columbia, Canada. I haven’t worked in almost a year now because I do not have an legal paperwork that would allow to do anything but stay in the country. I made this move to be with my wife, and with support from her family with done really well for ourselves. Even if I have had to sell cards and stuff at times to have some cash for paying student loans. I mention because there are 3 factors that this brings up.
I have to expect that my paperwork may take so long that I will not have a permit for re-entry. That means if I leave Canada I will not be coming home to my wife for a few years. This is the easiest problem in a way because while I have no control, I will know if this problem is fixed or not before the Pro Tour. It would suck if I got my residency the week of the Pro Tour or the week after, but it’s not in my control.

The other factor is that if I got a work permit I would really need to start working. We’re not bankrupt but I am 30k in debt with student loans and really need to start paying for it myself. This is the first question that actually has a real choice for me. Do I risk whatever job I might have just started to attend to Pro Tour? If I work at my local game store then I’m unlikely to have much of a risk. If I’m working at like Home Depot or Wal-Mart then it’s almost saying I quit if I’m asking for time off within the first 2-3 months of me working. I have to prioritize a real job over the Pro Tour. Even if I would hope to make a career of magic, it’s not quite paying off my student loans yet.

The most compelling choice is family. Beyond any conflicts with my wife, I have my family in Florida to consider. I haven’t seen them in a year. Is the Pro Tour worth risking a vacation to see my family? Is it worth the stress it might put on my marriage?

I have had to spend a while looking at just where to place Magic as a priority. If I can’t rank it high enough is it even worth setting the goals I made? Should I change my goals to something like just going full on judge or even just to running Magic for my LGS?

I will still do my best to figure out a way to attend the Pro Tour if I qualify, but I am aware of where it is ranked in importance. I am not quitting a job, divorcing my wife, skipping payments on bills to go to a Pro Tour. People have ruined their lives for less and I will not be one of them. As Magic players we always try to find the “best play” or see how we can improve our game to the next level. Life is a place we have to get the next level. I am not perfect at Magic, but if life is getting in the way then I wouldn’t be able to play my best Magic anyway.

This was a pretty self-centered article in a lot of ways, but I know people that couldn’t answer these questions if they were in my shoes. Some think about being on the Pro Tour, but also just play Magic for fun. That’s not to say they’re wrong, but that maybe if they’re upset for not making the PT this time they need to look at what they’re actually putting into magic.

I would like to put out some questions for people.

Why do you play magic? (Fun, social, strategy, etc)

What do you want to be recognized for through magic? (Hall of Fame, Web Site, Podcast, Judging, etc)

What would you give up to accomplish your goal?

That last one is something that should also read as “What wouldn’t you give up” and be a question we ask ourselves as we grow. I hope this article helps anyone even grow a little as a player or judge or as a human. And hopefully I’ll see everyone from  the winners seat at PT Honolulu.

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Posted on October 9, 2011, in Articles, L.A. Dreams and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I like the viewpoint that this article takes. I know too many people who are willing to sacrifice everything for this game. I am not one of them at all. I have completely walked away from the game before for my family. I regularly miss tournaments because I have to work. I do not regret it.

    If you do end up getting a job in retail I suggest telling them when you are hired/interview that you are unable to work that weekend due to a prior commitment. Most of the managers I know are pretty understanding if you tell them straight up. I know someone who managed to get July 4th week off from a meat department that way. The rest off us were not very happy with him, but management allowed it.

    • I’m glad to show there is a group of people who aren’t blind to the fact that life outside magic matters. Doesn’t mean I won’t try my hardest to overcome the problems, but I wouldn’t risk everything. I make the highest EV play. 😛

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