The spirit of the game is more than about winning. It's about being a positive part of a community that that builds friendships and has fun. Every year, Wizards honors those teams that highlight the spirit of the tournament with the Spirit Awards. This year, three teams shared in this accolade of showmanship and sportsmanship.
Team Dominican Republic, captained by Pedro Pappaterra
Pedro Pappaterra, Josue Abreu, Juan Rafael Almanzer, and Ronald Rodriguez represent the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to its west. The team has chosen the traditional garb of the local coconut vendor to stand out from the World Magic Cup crowd.
"The straw hat is made from the coconut tree, to protect from the sun. The red and blue cloth belts are because many are too poor to own belts. And the scarf is to clean the sweat from standing in the sun, selling fresh coconut on the streets. We chose to wear this to represent our country; our island is really small, so we wanted to be heard loudly! Back home, most people don't believe that this could happen to us, that we would be paid to fly around the world and play Magic, but being able to travel as a group, as a team, is very exciting."
Team Panama, captained by Claro Renderos
Claro Renderos, Omar Sanjur, Joel Enrigue Arauz, and Ivan Oro Ortiz traveled to Spain from tiny Panama, which snakes from the south of Costa Rica to the north of Colombia, joining the two American landmasses together. The four brought with them amazing, multicolored Panamanian masks to strike fear into the heart of their opponents.
"These masks represent the spirit of Panama. They are 'Dirty Devil' masks. People originally used them to scare little children with pranks, but eventually they became part of our culture, used in festivities and for carnivals. We wanted to show our culture, as there are not a lot of opportunities for us to do so. It was hard. Originally we wanted to stow our masks on the plane, but the airline was concerned they would be crushed, so we had to carry them on our laps on the plane for twelve hours. They are our gift to Wizards, a token of our appreciation for the game we love to play."
Team Scotland, captained by Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray, Ray Doyle, Martin Clement, and Grant Hislop have donned the plaid this year as a team. Scotland has the proud record of making Day Two of every World Magic Cup to date, and though the team has less Pro Tour experience than their competitors, Scotland has continually proven to punch above its weight at this international event.
"Dress up? We don't know what you mean…this is what everyone always wears in Scotland! Though seriously, we've had a few people attend the World Magic Cup in kilts before. It just seemed wrong for the whole team not to wear kilts this year. Each of the tartan patterns are linked to our family names, but it's not about us. It's more for the #FansAtHome. There are so many people who would love to attend and dress up, so we have to wear the kilts. It's about representing our country, with pride and passion."