Friday, July 27, 2007

Card Tricks

Ok "Sports" fans...

Welcome to the Daily(blog of the day) Sports Programming Network's...

Ridiculously wide world of "Sports"

For this, the 4th week of July, in honor of Comic-con San Diego, where my brother has been this week (I'm insanely jealous, by the way) DSPN will be taking a look at competitive Magic of two types. Magic:The Gathering, the Collectible Card Game (aka M:TG the CCG), and actual illusionist, stage magician, sleight-of-hand, type magic.

Everyone in my immediate family has some experience with one or the other of these two "Magics". My Father has recently become a National Champion Magician, (Here's his Magical Resume), and My Mother has taken up Magic too, now that her kids are out of the house. My Siblings an I stuck to the Card Game, but now that I think about it, I am the only one to have competed at both types.

Many Many Moons Ago, when I was ...oh, let's say 8 years old (between 7 and 10, for sure), I won first prize in the Youth Close-up category, at the Winter Carnival of Magic in Gatlinburg Tennessee. I did a trick called "The Matrix" in which I made quarters disappear from beneath a napkin, and a trick called "The Whispering Queen" which is a slightly theatrical take on the oldest "pick a card, any card, sir" trick in the book. I did these tricks so well, I won First Prize in my category, did I mention that already?

oh, by the way, I was the only person entered in that category....

I still have the trophy to this day. It is about a foot tall, and is topped with a hand holding a fanned-out display of cards. It sits next to my Spelling-Bee trophy from a few years later,on my mantel at home. I am a bit more proud of the spelling bee trophy, For reasons that are obvious to those of you with good eyesight.

Several years later, in high school, I became acquainted with some friends of my brothers (Hello, Mr. Lorrance!) who were collecting Star Trek: The Next Generation Collectible Card Game Cards. (aka ST:TNG CCG cards...see how handy these initials are?) I was not a big time trekkie, but the cards were kinda fun, and once I had the concept of a Collectible Card Game explained to me, I was hooked.

Collectible Card Games, (CCG's, even) are like narcotics in a number of important ways:
  1. You start because your friends are doing it
  2. You sometimes have to buy your own paraphernalia from a friend, a "specialty shop", or an ad in the back of a magazine devoted to your "hobby"
  3. You gather with your friends to indulge the habit
  4. You spend all your money on the stuff
  5. The more you do it the more you need
  6. A "harmless" CCG like Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon (yes, they are targeting CHILDREN with this stuff) can be a "Gateway Game" to the hard stuff, like Magic:The Gathering.
That being said, there are some important differences:
  1. Drugs are actually consumed in the process of using them, whereas the Card-Flopper ends up with cratefuls of the things all over his bedroom. (And, Yeah, the masculine pronoun there was intentional, folks)
  2. Drug Users don't have to be literate.
  3. Drugs make you cool, CCG's just the opposite. (ok, just kidding... Drugs DON'T make you cool, kids. (They're BAD, m'kay?) But still... kids think that drugs will make them cool, whereas they harbor no such illusions about their Star Trek Cards. Lindsay Lohan and Robert Downey, Jr. never went in to Card Game Rehab, is what I'm tryin' to say, here.)
  4. Also, there are no tournaments where people compete at their ability to do drugs (except for Major League Baseball, and The Tour De France)
And Sure Enough, the Star Trek Cards "Gatewayed" into Guardians cards, which in turn, "Gatewayed" into the Granddaddy of 'em All, Magic: The Gathering. Now I pretty much knew that CCG's were addictive by this point, but M:TG was supposed to be satanic as well. Just like Dungeons and Dragons! Turns out, it is no more satanic than bridge! (insert your own joke about your least favorite bridge player here) Well maybe a little more, but still, the reason it is the Granddaddy of all CCG's is that it is FUN!

Anyway, My brother and I entered a Magic tournament ourselves. I didn't bring home a trophy, (I was put out in the first round, as was my Bro), but I did become a Registered Tournament-level Player (which is kinda like having the word DORK branded into your skin, only less painful). I haven't played in years, and my cards have been stolen (unless I lent them out to someone and forgot) But every now and again I still want to pick it back up. Or maybe I should just try Heroin, instead.

Hey, at least I don't play the Trombone, too!

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