What can I say. I’ve been away. Well, I mean, I’m still here, but with regards to writing MTG articles and MTGCasualPlay.com, I have been emotionally and mentally away. Am I back in full yet? No, not really, but I’m on track. Hopefully the ability to write articles will start coming back. Writing is not an easy thing to do with a heavy heart and a clouded noggin’. Do you have time for a quick tale? Great. Buckle up, here we go.
Let me ask you something. Have you ever lost anyone from your playgroup? Not because a friend moved away, got married, quit playing or wasn’t having fun anymore. I mean truly lost someone. I started playing Magic in 1997. I was 25 years old, I think. My buddies Jared, Tom and myself all bought a starter pack of 5th Edition and a couple of booster packs and learned the game of Magic the Gathering together. We went to prereleases, drafted, and played a ton of 60 card casual. We pulled in other friends and family and taught them the game too. Most of us stepped away from Magic the Gathering™ for about ten years to raise our kids and focus on our jobs and family. Of course, we all stayed in very close contact through our other hobbies such as fantasy football and we were a part of each others every day lives. About 5 years ago we started playing Magic again thanks to a new friend and a format called Elder Dragon Highlander.
I want to focus on my buddy Tom for a minute. We did everything together. He was my best friend. I met him my senior year of high school on the wrestling team. Heck, I’ve known his sister since the 5th grade. After high school we partied together, rented a house and became roomates. Our rental house became well known for wild parties in a small town of 2300 people. Tom and I were gamers and worked together to defeat Mega Man enemies on the original Nintendo or went head-to-head in Super Tecmo Bowl. We went to NFL games, Magic events, movies, comedy clubs, you get the picture. My kids called him “Uncle Tom”, because he was always around and an important part of their lives.
In his early twenties, Tom was diagnosed with a heart condition. At 25 Tom was found unconscious on the side of the road and his heart stopped. Miracously, the good folks at the hospital were able to bring him back to life. For the next 17 years Tom had numerous heart surgeries and procedures. Tom knew his life on Earth would be short and he countered that with living life to the fullest. His sense of humor, positive attitiude, and genuine personality touched the lives of everyone he met. He was always blunt and to the point. So brutally honest sometimes he almost came off as being rude, hence his nickname, the Rude Dawg. Unfortunately, Tom developed pneumonia in November 2015 and fought long and hard for several months. In March of this year, we lost him. He was gone. I didn’t lose a friend, I lost a brother.
Another one of my best friends that I have known for decades, Corey, suffers the same loss with regards to Tom. Our EDH playgroup had always been, at the very least, a solid pod of three players, Corey, Tom and I. Now, Rakdos, Nath, Feldon, and Maelstrom Wanderer are gone from our games and we have an empty seat at our kitchen table. What I wouldn’t do to hear Tom cussing Corey out for playing Sigarda, or telling someone to “Shut up and take your fucking turn already” followed by laughter and drinking.
Before I continue, I will share with you this video of the three of us playing in our very own “Commander Versus”. Also, I will post a hyperlink below to a few more videos from Khans Standard featuring myself and the Rude Dawg.
I could go on and on about the Rude Dawg, what he meant to me and the epic stories through our decades of friendship. Another time perhaps? This article is primarily meant for me, part of the healing process I suppose. I know that losing my best friend has sapped my ability to write, so I’m hoping this article will also help inspire me to write again. This story, I hope, could also serve as a message. Not a message for everyone, but if it strikes a cord then, good.
Magic, EDH, Commander. It is a game. Playgroups develop friendships and camaraderie. Make it a point to have a couple of beers (or other beverage choice), chat about your lives and thoroughly enjoy the company of your friends and family. Commander and Multiplayer kitchen magic is only a tool to bring us together and create memories. Much like a large dinner is meant to bring families together on holidays. If disputes about rules or salty plays occur on game night, shove differences aside and find fair solutions as soon as possible. Remember the overall goal on game night is for fun, good company and sharing similar interests with those around you.
So what is on tap for me? I have a couple of Top Ten lists that I started and never finished. I’m going to go back and try to finish them. I also want to help promote recent articles on this website submitted by Kuchisama and Cailtis. These guys rock and their writing is fantastic. If you have not read their articles, please take a few moments and read through their content. I also have some unedited audio and video of EDH Games Tom and I recorded along with our lost audio file of our attempt at a podcast. I am going to try and edit and post everything I have in regards to audio and video to the MTGCasualPlay.com YouTube channel within the next few months or so.
You can expect future articles and content from me as a writer to be posted “every once in a while”. You see, that is one of the best things about writing for MTGCasualPlay.com, authors get to write about whatever they want, whenever they want. We can post an article every week, once a month, once a year. No worries. Between articles I fully plan on 2-3 MTG game nights per month, maybe a D&D/Pathfinder session or two, drinking some beers, do some traveling and enjoy several rounds of frisbee golf and the outdoors.
Live everyday. Do what we love. That’s what Tom wanted, not just for me, but for all of his friends and family. With that, I offer an everlasting salute with a glass of Guiness and toast the Rude Dawg. Love ya brother.
On to the next!