My first game was actually pretty memorable but not because of the game itself, but because it was on the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing. A friend had asked me a few weeks earlier if I was interested in trying out the game. He had played it back in his middle/high school years and wanted to get back into the hobby, the only issue being that he couldn’t find anybody to play against. After a day of thinking about it, I decided that it couldn’t hurt to at least try one game. I poured over the rules online, taking it all in, and instead of being overwhelmed or having tons of questions, I felt like it was all so easy and almost strangely familiar. Fast forward to April 15th 2013, I sat across from my friend, ready to play for the first time. I had bought a pre-made mono green deck from Amazon and nervously shuffled it, hoping that my knowledge of the game was as solid as my friends because, after all, I didn’t want to kill his good time by having to stop every twenty seconds to answer one of my questions. I drew my first hand and suddenly it wasn’t new to me anymore..it was natural to me. I didn’t win that game, or the game after that for that matter (f***ing white lifegain..), but something strange did happen..instead of having to ask a ton of questions, I was answering them. Now at the time, I didn’t read too much into it and just chalked it up as being a quick learner. From that first game on, I was hooked..when I wasn’t working or spending time with my girlfriend, I was scouring the internet for deck lists, then searching Ebay to buy the cards for those deck lists. I found out that my former roommate and best buddy/brother Shawn was looking to get back into playing and soon our once a month video game nights included MTG. We are pretty even players, usually going back and forth as far as wins and losses goes. I was always just happy that I could hang in there with someone who had previous experience and that I could actually put up a challenge.
February 23rd 2014
I received a text notification from Facebook that I had a message from an old childhood friend. I opened up the message and read..and was immediately confused. My friend was asking about a game I created when we were younger and if I had ever done anything with it since because he thought his son might enjoy it. I stared at the screen trying to grasp what in the hell he was talking about. What game? When would I have created a game? I leaned back and closed my eyes and really focused, shutting everything out. Suddenly, what I can only describe as a wave of memories came back to me all at once, bringing with it a fairly painful headache and leaving me stunned as everything I thought I had lost in my teenage years came back..
March 15th 2004
Stay with me, keep those eyes open, buddy..you’re gonna be fine.
I remember that phrase being repeated over and over to me..and every time I didn’t believe it. There was too much blood, so many things were broken, I could feel things moving that shouldn’t have been moving, my breaths getting harder and harder to take. I felt myself fading but it wasn’t scary, it was peaceful. I thought of my friends and family, said one last goodbye and prepared for whatever was next.
Ok, ok..I’ll get to the point..15 minutes earlier I was driving on the interstate on a chilly Sunday afternoon, when inexplicably something gave out in the rear end of my car, sending it careening into the median at 70 mph. The front end slammed into the dirt flipping the car over, trunk over hood. I was ejected out of the rear windshield of the car. I suffered a broken arm, broken back in 5 places, broken collarbone, collapsed lung, a hemorrhage in my right eye, and a concussion. The doctors were very worried that I would suffer some degree of brain damage, but miraculously I didn’t, I passed all of the tests: No brain damage, no paralysis, and most importantly, still alive. However, what did happen was that I suffered some memory loss..not total amnesia but I lost bits and pieces of my life..all of which were around the middle and high school years..which brings us to the final chapter of the story..
February 23rd 2014
I sat on my couch letting the memories wash over me. I remembered almost everything. My girlfriend kept asking me questions in an attempt to pull the last stubborn bits of broken memories into the light I remembered old classmates, old teachers, things I had done, people I had met, and finally sitting down in my parents basement (yeah, I know, keep the nerd jokes to yourself, b*tches) with my friends, reading comics, drawing, trading sports cards, listening to music, and playing MTG. There it is. The reason why the rules were so easy to learn, the game was so natural, was because I played when I was teenager. Strangely enough, back then I had always played a mono red deck, and sure enough my favorite deck now is a mono red deck. Red was my favorite card color back then and still is to this day. I tend to splash it into almost every deck I build as I did back then. Is it a coincidence? Maybe. But I rather believe that it was my memories, the younger me, letting me know that he was still there.
Fyi..after getting my memories back I realized that my first time playing was actually in 1995 when I was 15, a friend who went to Boston every summer, returned at the end of August with a few decks of cards, saying that everyone out in Boston was playing it now. He gave me one, taught me how to play (kind of), and that’s that. I guess I could have just said that, but where’s the fun in that?