There aren’t GPs in Europe during my (rather long) summer vacation, so I decided to go to Canada instead. In many ways an interesting experience, but I’ll stick to talking about the GP itself here. This was my 20th Grand Prix and as far as I remember, the first one since my second one where there weren’t plenty of other Finnish players who I already knew.
In fact, the only person I did know before hand, was Charlotte, a level three rules expert, who runs tha Ask a Magic Judge Tumblr. I know her from judging circles back in Finland, but she’s originally from Canada, so it was natural for her to be there for this event.
Anyhow, when you don’t travel in a group, you tend to mix more with different people, so I would like to talk about some of them.
First, Canadians are as polite as their reputation suggests. Really. They did have a tendency to focus very deeply when playing, and thus weren’t very talkative during matches, but otherwise, no negative experiences with them. Even the beggars were polite (none of them in at the site, but I’ve ran into a few).
The one negative interaction I did have at the event was with an American (although I probably shouldn’t use that, since Canadians are Americans as well, but you get what I mean), who felt necessary to try to intimidate with his GP experience. So, I told him this was my 20th and the subject wasn’t brought up any longer. I did hear he tried to do the same thing to someone in a Trial on Friday as well.
I also met the patriarch of the Wagenhoffer family, Robert. I’m putting the emphasis on the family here, because they received some attention for it a couple of years back on the Mothership. He told me he sponsors events for kids at their local store in Montreal. He tries to make sure all the kids have access to cards and leaves the tournament with a couple of boosters at the least. I think that’s great work, because the game can teach so much beyond the obvious, so there’s a lot of value to this work.
I also met the head judge briefly. Once we were wrapping up the ninth round, after I had lost, my opponent took the match slip and just noticed that he’s name wasn’t on it. Turns out, he sat down at the wrong table. What are we to do? So, I asked a judge over and he told us to talk to the scorekeeper, who in turn asked us to explain the situation to the judge. The ruling was that since I was at the right table, my opponent had forfeited the match to me and since my opponent was at the wrong table, he had forfeited his match to his real opponent. Gladly, my opponent wasn’t pissed about this or anything. He was just worried that there might be further repercussions, although if he had asked me, I could have told that there wouldn’t be any. Gladly, the match was in the “for the love of game” bracket and didn’t really matter in any way. Again, all the interactions were very nice and polite.
I also met the janitor. I have never seen anyone so happy in their work. I mean, he was all smile and talkative and interested. He said he didn’t play the game, but appreciates the art and thus collects the cards. To him the piles of leftover cards from Sealed and Draft tournaments were a treasure trove. Having recently purchased a poster-sized print of the art of Liliana, the Last Hope, I have a newly found appreciation for the art myself, and can therefore appreciate his enthusiasm. Also, I’m kind of jealous for his ability to find this much joy in his work.
The person, who was responsible for dealing out the boosters at the Prize Wall wanted to tell a joke to everyone who came there. Mine was the classic about addiction the brake fluids and how he can stop anytime. I told him I was from Finland and therefore he can’t crack me up, which made him laugh.
There were actually quite a few kids there. Maybe this is a language question, because in Europe the younger kids don’t necessarily speak English or they aren’t confident enough in it. Here, everyone speaks English, so no such trouble. Or maybe they just encourage the kids more. I don’t know.
Of course, I met a lot of other people, but no need to recount all of them. Anyhow, to recount, Canadians are very nice.