Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Magic of an Open Mind

You know what's interesting about nerds? They like to learn and discover but are probably more close minded then the general public. Think about it. How many fellow gamers do you know refuse to play certain games with you even though they've never tried it?

I've found that when I have a closed mind, refuse to try something new, and hold on to predisposed judgements that I shoot myself in the foot. Let's take my experience of the game of Magic: The Gathering as an example.
Downtown Sykesville, MD. Jared and I lived near here.

I was first introduced to the game of Magic by my childhood friend Jared in the year 1997. (Great year, by the way. Lot's of great games and cool stuff happened.) We played one game and I had no idea what was going on. Really, I just like the artwork on the cards. I decided the game was stupid and too complicated.

I think it was in that same year that I was introduced to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Even though I was obsessed with Pokémon I thought the game boy games were better and got turned off from reading card games all together. My prejudice kept me from enjoying a great game.

I didn't touch Magic again until I was on my mission where it was reintroduced to me by my mission companion Elder Dylan Kaminske. Kaminske loved the game and insisted that it wasn't as complicated as I remembered. I decided I would play with him for a few games one P-Day.

Kaminske is good. I was still lost in trying to understand the game. I was a little bit of a sore loser too. "This makes me just want to make my own card game," I said. I liked the concept of Magic but felt like whoever had the better deck won.

So again, my prejudices were reinforced by not understanding the game and thinking I could create something better. It would be years before I would look at Magic cards again. I convinced myself I could never be good at the game and would never have the time or money to invest in to it.

About 3 or 4 years passed and I found myself in Utah. Since then, I had been trying new things. I met online friends in real life. I made crazy plans to moce to Southern California. I adopted a mindset that comforts and familiarities were nice but didn't help progress me into who I wanted to become. Because of these changes in my mindset I warmed up to the idea of moving to Utah when my other plans failed.

When I moved to Utah I made friends with Joe and later met and became friends with T.J. One day, one or both of them wanted to play Magic. "Why not?" I thought. "They're ridiculously good at every game I play with them and in the end I just want to spend time with them."

So I played Magic for the third time in my life. This time my mind and attitude had matured and I played the game without the pride I had adopted. I don't remember who won but I remember having a lot of fun. Did they change the rules of the game since I last played? No, I changed since I last played.

If I had continued to hold on to that prejudice I would not have experienced the joy of the company of great friends and a game I'm finding I am more and more passionate about. I see the game differently now. Where before I thought I could make a better game, I now feel it's the standard of care games.

Do you see how letting go of judgements and beliefs actually helped me? Do you think that it could help you? How many geeks do you know who refuse to try sports or non fantasy books out? They could be denying themselves of experiences that could fill needs and help them learn something.

I'd like to invite all of you readers to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I'll be doing this too. I'll even make a new year's resolution from it. Do it for you and do it for fun.

Now, I want to give a special invitation to the non-geek readers. I am currently planning a Mormon Geeks hosted Magic Tournament. This will be a public event and ooen to everyone. When a date and location has been set, I would like to have non magic players come just to try it out. The less needy you are, the better! We will make sure there are tables just for the uninitiated.
My childhood best friend Michael found something like this exploring one day with our little brothers.  I wish I had gone with them.  Missed out on something cool.

Bring a date! Meet new people. Discover something new. Adventure is always just outside our door step. Really, what have you got to lose? (OK, besides 20 hit points.)



  1. Data correction: Joe and I played Magic together on Super Bowl Sunday while watching the game. You just watched us play and thought it seemed less complicated than you remembered.

    Within the coming weeks (maybe months), you and I sat and I helped teach you how to play again. You loved it (mostly because you had a the awesomest teacher ever).

    Ever since then, there's no going back on Magic.

  2. Do you yet have a date and time for this Magic Tournament? I'd love to come play.

  3. Hey, when you do set up this tournament, I'd like to join in! Although, frankly, I prefer the larger, multiplayer games the most. It adds another layer of strategy.