Richmond Tan is one of the veterans of the Philippines Magic Community. He is here today with his wife Rowena and his son "Red" and all three of them are entered into the Main Event today. It is rare to see the entire family participating in a Grand Prix together and I took the chance to sit down with the trio for a quick chat.
When questioned about how Richmond got involved with Magic, he earnestly explained to me that he had been a card collector all his life. "I used to collect basketball cards. And as you know, you can't play with basketball cards. They sit in the albums, looking pretty. Then I found out about Magic and sold all my basketball cards and made the switch. I now collect Magic cards instead. Haha!"
The Tan Family
Richmond explains that the lifelong attachment to the game started when he and Rowena were just dating. "We started at around the same time, the time when Fifth Edition and Urza's Saga was released. Of course, at that time we didn't have our boy yet, but we did have a lot of fun playing Magic together." Now that they do have a little boy, I asked Rowena whether there a stigma when it comes to introducing children to this game.
"As a mother, do you have any problems with your child playing Magic?"
Mummy dearest responds, "Some parents don't want their kids to play such games. They think that it is a game with nasty influences, such as demons, skeletons and elements of death and decay. However, only the uninformed have that kind of misconception. Magic is an intellectual strategy card game and I feel that it helps my child's intelligence develop. At the end of the day, it is a battle of wits that commands the use of deduction and mathematics"
"Red" was introduced to the game at the tender age of 7 years old. "I was curious about what daddy was doing. He was always at the shop and I wanted to know what he was up to." It turns out that the Tan family has been operating a hobby store since 2003, which would explain "Red's" curiosity.
His favorite color, unsurprisingly, is red, and has chosen to pilot Tom Ross' Boss Sligh deck at Grand Prix Manila today. His favorite card is Jace, the Mind Sculptor though, and I jokingly suggested that he was a child prodigy in the making. However, his favorite Planeswalker at the moment happens to be Garruk, Apex Predator, because it is "super cool".
How much time does the family spend playing Magic together? It would seem that the answer ranges from "a fair bit" to "a lot".
Rowena shared with me that just few days ago, the entire family stayed up from 8pm to 8am for two consecutive nights. "We were playtesting for Grand Prix Manila while celebrating the New Year!" That's insane, I thought to myself. Even I'm not that hardcore, but I guess when the entire family is into it, it becomes more than just Magic. It's the quality time that makes moments like this precious and memorable.
Now that their son is growing older, they are playing more Magic together than ever before. When Tan made it to the World Magic Cup in 2013 as the Philippines National Champion, he brought his family along with him to cheer him on on the sidelines, followed by a short vacation in The Netherlands. In 2014, they also made the trip to Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur and Grand Prix Taipei together as a family, not only to attend the Grand Prix but also to do a little bit of traveling and sightseeing. They intend to attend some, if not all, of the Asian Grands Prix in 2015 as well.
Let's wish them luck in the main event and I'm sure regardless of how they finish, their special bond will stay as strong as ever!