Do you love spending time in the Magical world? We're all very much huge fans of Magic, and no matter which Grand Prix we attend, there is a sense of connection that bonds you with every other person in the room. Even more so here in São Paulo, since it's a team event.
However, most of us never think further than this. Some people assume it is all about winning a match and signing the result slip, collecting your prizes and calling it a day.
That's not Magic. Not entirely. At least not for me.
"We might be opponents, but we're also friends."
That's what Magic is all about, and also the primary force that drives the growth of the Brazilian community. We're not just here to play in the Grand Prix and catch up with old friends you haven't seen in a while.
The science of building a better community isn't hard to work out. Be true to yourself, and be nice to one another. The principle fruit of friendship is nothing but the ease and discharge of the fullness and swellings of the heart. We already have something we love in common, Magic, so most of the work is already done. All we need to do is to share the good times and forge everlasting memories.
"Win or lose, friends forever."
It's a spiritual relationship we share with every Magic player we encounter, when two or more parties they would never have met in their lives meet. Billions of people roam this planet, and destiny has brought two together during these anointed moments. Ever thought about that? How small we are in the grand scheme of things, and how much every little connection is worth?
The Brazilian community has taught me that one we face is a result of being part of the web that bonds us together. My home is 10,000 miles away. To be honest, some of these folks I'll never meet again, but the chance encounter is something that we can seek to build upon. These aren't just random people, or stepping stones on the way to a Grand Prix trophy. These are people to whom we have karmic connections with.
We may not all speak the same language, but at least we all know what Lightning Bolt does. Doesn't that mean anything?
"It's always about having a great time."
Even the best players need a little help sometimes.
For the most part, most of us are just here to have fun. Magic is one of the best forms of recreation, and there are so many ways to indulge in it. The hardcore Pro Players relentlessly chase their levels, chase their dreams. The grinders aspire to get there, and work toward their goals progressively. The casuals have it the best, because every Magic moment is unforgettable whether they're playing Commander or Cube.
"One Planeswalker for each of us. There's enough to go around."
Sure, when we're playing, we hope to win. We want those bomb rares in our Sealed Decks and we want to top-deck that card to steal the match. But regardless of the outcome, everyone is a winner as long as the competition is well-natured. Shake hands. Part ways, or choose not to. "Friend me on Facebook." That's all it takes to start a potentially-blossoming connection.
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints in our hearts. And we are never ever the same."
Dress up if you must. Show your team spirit. These guys might not be winning the Grand Prix, but they're certainly having a lot of fun and turning a lot of heads. Isn't this the spirit of what a Team Grand Prix is supposed to be all about? The Brazilian community is never afraid to express themselves.
One of the initiatives by a group named "Garotas Magicas" is committed to encouraging more ladies to get involved with the game. Boyfriends, bring your girlfriends along and we'll teach her the basics. Husbands, bring your wives along, so we can show her what you're really doing when you're out of the house. Fathers, bring your daughters along, and they will turn out to be better players than you are.
These are all true stories, and true people whom I've encountered over the weekend in São Paulo. In addition, the Community Manager of Brazil, Carolina Moraes, was happy to share some stories and photographs.
There are plenty of teams with ladies this weekend, and we also have a mother participating in the Super Sunday Series, while the loving dad tends to their baby in arms. There was even an eight-year-old girl teaching her dad how to play his Legacy Elves deck better. He was tapping his Gaea's Cradle at the wrong time. He deserved to be derided and chided.
There is no stigma here. This is a safe place for anyone and everyone.
If you want to help us solve the Tamiyo's Journal puzzle, you're one of us. If you're interested in defending Innistrad from Emrakul, the Promised End, you're one of us. Heck, if you know what basic lands are, you're one of us too. This is a haven, to get away from the pressures of life. This is the calm under the waves of your oblivion. At least for the moment, you can just be who you are.
You can be Jace. You can be Chandra.
You can be yourself.
You can also be a World Champion.
Most importantly, you can be a better Magic player, and a better person.
Carlos Romão, World Champion 2002, who also made Top 4 this weekend.
Thank you Brazil. You've showed me so much.