What actually happens.

Unfortunately, this article is going to be tied back to my first. A subject I wanted to leave in the past, but I really do feel this is important to share.

Many members of the magic community have come forward with support, and encouragement after the article was posted. I really do want to thank everyone who read it, shared it, or even sent it directly to someone who really needed to see it. It is my hope that my words made a meaningful, positive impact on the magic community. To help shape it for the better, so it may survive and continue to be an enjoyable game for all in the years to come.

I was actually happy to find my stories “shocking” to most. It means the majority of players find this behavior unacceptable and inconceivable. It was further confirmed this past weekend in Orlando.The look of disbelief fell upon the faces of my neighbors at the players meeting. The day had just begun, a game not yet played, the timer not yet ticking…. And already, two magic players were under personal attack.

Male or Female, neither or in between, new to the game or a long time grinder— it doesn’t matter. I think most of us have the same thoughts at the beginning of a magic event: finding your seat for the player meeting; checking your decklist again for the 4th time; calculating how many rounds there will be; and how many you can afford to lose and still day 2….. Here is what I’m not thinking, “I wonder if I will be harassed and teased today at a magic the gathering event, how will I respond if I do?”  How many of you have this thought during a player meeting? I would hope none, but sadly, there are a few. Can you imagine trying to get ready for battle, and worrying about that? It completely ruins your headspace and focus.

These poisonous players often go unreported and unpunished. I believe this is mostly out of fear, and something, I want to change today. What could these victims fear: Fear of what will happen during and after the incident is reported; Worried about backlash from the community; Terrified to be labeled as a “tattle-tale”, and rejected from the community. And I think everyone fears they are making to big of a deal and should just jeep their mouth shut…. I know these are some of my fears.

This past weekend, I faced my fears; and want to share what happened in hopes to calm others, and give them the strength needed to also face their fears and attacker. I want to make it clear: I do not know the official guide lines set by Wizards for judges to follow when dealing with these incidents. This is an accounting of what happened from my point of view, and how it was dealt with at this event. Normally, I try to leave some of the more rude details out, but for this I want everyone to get the full picture.  Names will be omitted for privacy and respect. The names of Judges were used with permission.

This story does not begin with me. I just happened to be around, and an easy target it would seem. The player meeting had just begun. Taking a moment to find my seat, I sit down and finish filling out my deck list. Counting and recounting cards to make sure all is in order, The player beside me (player number 1) chatting to the player to his side (player number 2). I do not know the beginning of the conversation, or how long they have known one another. They made mention of playing one another before a few times, player 1 voice became more harsh while player 2 became more distressed. I really started listening when player 2 stated out loud, “Please leave me alone, I just want to play today.”

Before I continue, I would really like to ask all of my readers: how many times have you had to say this at a magic event? All of you? A few of you? Just a couple? There was at least one who DID have to say that. He had to plead in front of his wizard peers to be left alone. Even while in distress, he still held more honor than player 1 and said please. It is this wizards bravery to stand up for himself which gave me the courage to do so as well. Thank you my fellow mage.

His words were met with mockery from player 1. Perhaps becoming annoyed player 2 had stood up for himself. Player 2 didn’t respond. I would like to say he just kept his cool…. But one could tell, he was aggravated, stressed, and hurt. He just retreated into himself, I could see all the excitement and joy from being at a magic event slowly leave him. At this point I made it in my mind to speak with him after the player meeting to hopefully improve his spirit and wish him luck. I wouldn’t get this chance, and looking back I wonder was this the correct thought? Would it have been enough? Or perhaps everything that was about to happen could have been avoided if the judge was called right there.

Player 1 was becoming bored with his victim, but having most of the attention of the table, wanted to keep his party going. His aggression shifted to me mid-sentence, “He must have daddy issues, the only magic players I like with daddy issues are girls because they have no standards and will fuck anything” … I was stunned. His eyes were locked on me, a prideful smirk across his face. I couldn’t even breath. I don’t think anyone was breathing as I looked around the table. No one laughed. No one smiled. They just sat there staring at me in disbelief, not knowing what to do. I didn’t know what to do. The deck lists were collected, everyone thankful for the distraction it seemed. I felt trapped at the table sitting beside him, not wanting to make a scene nor give him anything else to go after me for. I quietly waited. And this is where I would have let it go, just fade away, add it to one of the crazy things that happened to me at a magic event. But I saw player 2, he too seemed to be hiding inside himself.

After the lists were collected, I grabbed my bag and left. Swallowing back the fear and anxiety I was choking on. I didn’t know what was about to happen, how my complaint would be received, or resolved. Nervously, I waited behind a group of judges. Then one of them noticed me and approached. This is what proceeded:

1) Spoke to a floor judge who listened with shock and compassion. His first question being “are you ok?”.

2) Leaving me with tournament organizer Patrick Vorbroker, the floor judge made his way to the front and spoke with the Head Judge David Hibbs.

3) Right away the floor judge returned bringing the Head Judge. Again, the first question to me was “are you ok?”.

4) I explain to the Mr. Hibbs what happened and who was involved.  He listens intensely, and helps calm me down.

At this point all my fears and anxiety about the backlash start to over ride me, I struggled to not cry, but a few tears escaped. And not one of the them said anything to make me feel ashamed.  Instead I was comforted and reassured by them.

5) The Head Judge David Hibbs asked if player 1 decided he would like to apologize, would I be willing to do that. I declined, wanting to just push his smirk out of my mind and play. I wasn’t forced or backed into a corner, but given the option to hear an apology. (I do not know if player 1 asked to apologize later when they confronted him.)

6) I was reassured I would not have to sit near him for the event.

7) Once David Hibbs finished talking with me, I went to the bathroom to calm down, wash my face and collect myself. The first round had not started yet, but I was given as much time extension as needed.

8) Throughout the event, the 3 staff members involved checked in on me discreetly.

I’ve tried to make the above accounting as impartial as possible, while still showing how tenderly the situation was handled by those involved. I would also like to say, besides player 1 posting something about it on social media and talking about it himself, I did not hear anyone else mention it. My privacy was respected, and held by the judges through the tournament. To be completely honest, I did fear player 1 would find me later and be aggressive, but I didn’t cross paths with him the rest of the weekend. I believe the judges may have been helping to orchestrate that as well.

In closing, I would like to thank those involved. I would like to apologize to player 2 for not saying something, and defending you right away. If you read this please contact me, I would like to thank you for being bold and standing for yourself, encouraging me to do so as well. I would also like to encourage those who fear the repercussions of reporting an incident to place confidence in the wizard staff to care for you. On behalf of Team Snap Keep, we would like to extend our gratitude to the judges and staff working Orlando and every magic event. We appreciate all the hard work, long hours, and passion you put into the game.

 

One response to “What actually happens.

  1. As a judge involved in this particular situation…

    I’d like to note to others that, if this happens somewhere near you, please speak to a judge–and don’t be afraid to say something if you are asked.

    Too often I have tried to investigate these situations and had players say that “I wasn’t there” or “I don’t remember what was said.” I generally know better, and I also can tell that the speaker simply doesn’t want to be involved.

    If you are at the event, you are a member of the Magic community and you ARE involved. These are not times to “keep your mouth shut” in an attempt to garner or maintain the respect of the speaker. You have nothing to gain through silence.

    Consider for a moment whether you would want someone to stand up for you in an unpleasant situation. Consider whether the treatment of another player is something you want representing YOU as part of the community.

    By not speaking, you are allowing these people to speak for you. You are allowing it to continue, and you are not gaining any respect from those around you. More likely, it is the opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

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