Random Thoughts – What we owe to each other

” We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can give for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. “
– Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator, 1948

As Charlie Chaplin said, I think we should live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. Three years ago, I was a chess player, and in our community came a lot of youngsters that wanted to learn the game; and when beginners managed to beat one of the “big guys” (as me and other older members were called), we made a circle around them and we carried them on our shoulders, to make them feel good about their achievement. The smile on their faces was priceless, and it made you feel good even if you lost the match. To inspire more players to be kind, I want to show you a specific video, about a Magic: The Gathering player, and the video it’s called “Enter the Battlefield: Seth Manfield”.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, skip at 7:25, where you will see the biggest token of friendship two magic players could show. Pascal Maynard saw he was losing, so he patted his friend’s shoulder, got up from the table, and got to the other side of the table; Seth reached his hand, but that was not what Pascal wanted, he wanted to hug his friend and to express his happiness about him winning the Pro Tour.

Today’s subject is a big problem in many games and in many sports, the fair play that someone can show to his opponents; in short terms, what we owe to each other. A few weeks ago, at a Star City Games tournament, something specific happened. After a game, seeing that the foe doesn’t want to shake his hand, the winner offered the handshake instead, and the loser refused twice. Of course, there will be someone who will say “But what if he was germaphobe, or had some kind of problems and didn’t want to touch the hand of complete stranger.” That’s okay, and people should understand that. Skin contact might not be the best way to show your respect to an opponent, but a “Thank you for the games” or “Good luck in the next rounds” won’t kill you or your pride. First of all, I rarely say good games, because many people might consider it being an insult due to the current slang and players that say “gg ez”.

This problem is born from the fact that a lot of people near you playing the game, case that leads you to not giving them a big value. From a person that has to travel 30 kilometers to play magic, and doesn’t even have a Local Game Store, most of the times opponents aren’t even that, they are just friends that you meet over the table, play some magic and maybe have some drinks and a snack. Magic’s main purpose is to get people closer, so people should see the game mainly as that; a way to make new friends and get closer to the ones you already have.

Moral of the story?
Don’t be a douche. It’s okay, be a germaphobe if you have to, but being a germaphobe doesn’t mean you have to be a douche too. Express your congratulations to your opponent through some small words, and if players in the Pro Tour Finals could show fair play, you can show it too. Until next week, I was MrXenagos, thank you for joining me, and remember, be kind to each other!

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