A few months ago I overheard a discussion by some regional players of participating as a team in the Pro Tour Qualifier circuit for New York. Then I realized that it was a great adventure to perform a clinic for Team Draft at my home. But how to organize this?
It took some weeks to think everything over, but then I had it all coming. I would contact some team-players in Holland and ask them to instruct the clinic.
First I had to set up the program for that day, then contact players if they would be interested and then contact instructors. And so I did.
The program was this: arrival at 10.00 - Introduction of each other followed up by the first Rochester draft. After that a lunch, which is followed by the second draft. At 16.00 we will have a kind of Happy Hour with snacks and drinks and after that a visit at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. In the evening is the third and last draft, which would be played by Team rulings.
If I could have 9 players willing to pay an amount of HFL. 150,-- I could hire 3 instructors and I will make the day at a break even point.
When I announced my program to some players, I got 7 pre-registrations, not knowing who will be the instructors. But that gave me a huge amount of hope that this was going to be an success. So I got to my computer and mailed Kamiel Cornelissen and Jos Schreurs and told them about my plans. Jos was really excited and willing to participate, but Kamiel had to think things over. Then the Dutch nationals were coming up and I decided to visit the event to make contact with some players and hopefully I could hire 3 people. When I was there I heard from Jos that he could not make it due to personal circumstances, so I had to look around. I made contact with Ryan Fuller and told him about my plan and he was excited from the first moment on. Later on we had a chat with Noah and the result was, that the first 2 instructors were hired.
I was really excited, because I got 2 of the best team players at this moment in the world. After that I discussed my program with Jaap Brouwer, Level 3 judge and also my personal mentor for my Level 1 exam, and Gijsbert Hoogendijk, Level 3 judge and hopefully my new mentor for my Level 2. They were also excited about my plans and if they would have the time they would visit us, while we were busy with the clinic. What I didn't know at that time was the fact that they couldn't make it due to personal circumstances.
When we drove home I phoned my closest friend, who was also participating in the clinic, and told him who I contracted. He also went out of his mind and told me that this couldn't fail anymore. After all, the clinic was full with 9 players and three instructors. The third party was filled in by Alexander Witt.
Now it was the time to finalize the program. I hired a friend with a catering firm for the lunch and the happy hour, I booked the restaurant and bought in the boosters for the three drafts IBC Rochester. Then I visit the supermarket for the drinks during the day, because it was all-in the prize.
The day was set for the 7th July and I confirmed that with Jan-Willem Barends, who has replaced Rob Latten. He programmed the clinic in his Tournament program and set the day for Dutch Team Nationals at the 14th July, so I could sent in a team for the Nationals. Thanks for that Jan-Willem!!! So now everything was settled and I thought I could lay back and watch D-Day coming. But 2 days ahead I still didn't get a confirmation of one of the players. In the morning of D-Day still nothing, so I was missing one player. As usual, half an hour for take off, my nerves are getting me and I had to visit the toilet several times. I've decided that my oldest daughter Wieneke, 13 years old, could fill in the empty space. She was excited and nervous at the same time, because she never played a tournament or even a draft. She only played one Arena-season.
I picked up a player and the three instructors at the railway station at 9.30 am. At 10.00 the program took off. I made the teams for draft one as follows: Team FidoMagic.nl formed by Rene and Jochem van der Stok and Gerben Smit. They will be participating in Nationals next week as Team FidoMagic.nl. Team Ryan Fuller with Wilco Bos and Jeroen de Ruiter. Team Alexander Witt with Raymond Kouwenhoven and Marte Koning. Team Noah Boeken with Eelke de Ruiter and Wieneke Dokter.
The first draft was an open draft with comments of the instructors why a card pick and why not and other instructions/signals etc. It was obvious that the new teams were learning a lot and the instructors were having fun. Team Ryan played FidoMagic.nl and Team Noah played Team Alexander. Results 3-0 and 2-1. The most amazing thing was that Wieneke played blue-black-red beating Raymond 2-0. Noah was also surprised and was glad she was in his team. Team FidoMagic.nl was really beaten up but Jochem made it a hard game for Ryan, which was also 2-0 for Ryan.
A lot of preparation and practice was required to qualify for the New York Pro Tour team competition.
After we had lunch, with a lot of fun and talking, we went for draft two. Team Ryan against Team Alexander and Team FidoMagic.nl was paired with Team Noah. Results were 2-1 for Ryan and Noah. Wieneke played Blue-black-red again and went 2-0 again. Wilco went 0-2 against Alexander, but had seriously mana-problems. Ryan played afterwards the same deck and beat Alexander, for fun, to confirm that the deck was really good.
We discussed it all while we were enjoying our drinks and snacks, that we lost track of time and I had to delay our dinner with half an hour. The discussion went on at the table and a new team was born. Team Wieneke will also participate at nationals. Players are Wilco Bos, Jeroen de Ruiter and Wieneke Dokter. I have to register them tomorrow morning and hopefully there will be a space left.
When we got home I was taking care of the drinks again, coffee/tea etc., and the players went on with the final draft, playing by tournament rules. Team Mokum was formed by Ryan, Noah and Alexander playing team FidoMagic.nl. Team Wieneke was playing against Team Hope, formed by Marte Koning, Eelke de Ruiter and Raymond Kouwenhoven. Results were 2-1 for Mokum and 3-0 for team Hope.
The main thing what the players have learned is to act like a team and to build the decks together. That is really hard, because they are always single players.
Don't think that one clinic make the difference. You have to play a lot together and think together. That was the final conclusion of the three instructors, who went home with a great pleasure and the promise, if I need them again I could contact them.
Everyone was really excited about the whole day and I got many compliments for the organization. I was really tired at the end, but really satisfied. I've also learned a lot that day, mainly organizing things.
First to confirm the players sooner and register emails or phone numbers. Secondly payments in front, because that is less administration during the day. Third make up the teams in front, less discussion between players, and pair them in front. Finally get an extra help in organizing, so we can feature match the plays more then I could do right now. I couldn't find the time in between to do so, so I'm sorry for that folks.
Also new events are born in my mind, like a magic camp next year, a ruling class for players to teach them rulings and penalty guide lines, so they will get a level 1 judge knowledge (theoretically). Also a Team draft following up this one so individuals and teams can participate.
I had a great time organizing this and I hope God will give me time and experience to continue with this, so I can help players getting advanced in playing Magic. I am already organizing tournaments, Arena and drafts, so this will complete my tribute to magic in general.
If you have questions or hints for me, please let me know. I will take all of those seriously and hopefully I can answer them.