One of the adages about Magic is that players never really quit the game. They might get older, get married, have children, but they still show up at tournaments from time to time. Magic Grand Prix are great for bringing them out of the woodwork. Last year at GP Manchester I bumped into a lot of British players I hadn't seen in years. This year at GP Liverpool I was surprised to see a group of old-school Dutch pros walking through the entrance.
Names like Jeroen Remie, Wessel Oomens, Bas Postema, Ruud Warmenhoven, Victor Van Den Broek might not be so familiar now, but a few years back they were part of a regular Dutch contingent that performed very well on the Pro Tour. Then real life and other things intervened and they faded out of the game for a while. Fellow Dutch player, Dolf Hendrikx gave me the story for how they all came to be here. They still meet up to draft cube every so often, but real life commitments being what they are, someone was always crying off for one reason or another. Hendrikx thought the best way to guarantee them showing up for cube draft was to get them all to book flights/hotel to GP Liverpool.
Hendrikx also gave me one of the more amusing stories I've heard at the GP so far. Last night the Dutchies were up in their room playing Magic when they heard a knock on the door. Answering it they were faced with the odd sight of a man wearing not very much at all.
"Did someone call for a naked butler?"
It turns out the hotel they'd booked specializes in parties for men and women on the eve of marriage. A member of one those parties came down later to apologize for sending their "butler" to the wrong room.
There were photos, but I fear if I put those up my return to coverage would be a very short one indeed. Instead here's some pictures of some Dutch dinos instead.
What I've always loved about travelling the world to either play or cover Magic are the stories and memories that every tournament creates.