Last month, I had an extended trip back to my hometown: the bustling metropolis of Naugatuck, Connecticut. I helped my parents pack up my childhood home in advance of its sale, and was a groomsman in my sister’s wedding. I expected it to be an emotionally difficult trip. Conventional wisdom says that going back home reconnects you with the person you were before you left. I didn’t realize how true that was.
One of my best friends Jeff and I go way back to 1996 where we bonded over a mutual love of the music of His Weirdness, Sir Alfred Matthew Yankovic, and a shared affinity for a popular (and still relatively new at the time) card game called Magic: The Gathering. We played and traded so much together through the years, but we’d both stopped playing by the end of high school in 2003; life got in the way.
Fast forward to July 2016. I’m back in Connecticut for two weeks, and Jeff and I are visiting our old comic book store. He notices two pre-constructed decks from Dragons of Tarkir, Magic’s spring 2015 expansion. He asks me, “Hey, I’ve got some store credit. You want me to pick up these two decks and we can play Magic tonight?” I answer with a shrug and slightly apathetic “Sure”, thinking that it might be a good way to kill an hour or two.
We played pretty much the rest of the night, trading the decks back and forth.
When we hooked up a few days later, both of us had an itch to play again. I purchased two pre-constructed decks from the summer 2016 expansion Eldritch Moon (which at the time was a whopping 23 hours old). I am a big fan of Lovecraftian horror, and the set turned out to be a thematic send-up to Lovecraft. Once I cracked open the boxes I knew I was hooked all over again. Jeff and I traded four decks and played for hours. Our friend came over with his cards and we played many 3-way cutthroat games. The spark was back.
Six Weeks Later
Now, six weeks later, I’ve participated in my first booster draft tournament. I’m planning to go to my local game store‘s pre-release event for Kaladesh, the fall 2016 expansion. I’ve started listening to Magic podcasts to reacquaint myself with the game, popular strategies, and the best cards. I purchased (more than) a few boosters for myself and built my own blue-red uptempo burn deck (my specialty back in the day), and a blue-green deck built around some big, bad Eldrazi (read: Lovecraftian) horror creatures. I pored through all of the old cards that I’d not given away. I’ve picked my favorite planeswalker and discovered what guild I belong to.
But most importantly, I’m on a quest to finish a feat I started 19 years ago: collect the entirety of the Tempest block of expansions. Amazon.com and game store online storefronts were non-existent when I was collecting as a kid, and now I can find these old cards for literally quarters apiece. I went from 40-something cards missing (including Cursed Scroll, which was $25 at the height of its popularity) to 6 cards missing in a matter of weeks.
I don’t know what it is about connecting with a past hobby that got me going full bore into it again, but I’m glad I rediscovered it. This game was a staple of my childhood; I grew up with Magic the way that many people my age grew up with Harry Potter. Now with the advent of Friday Night Magic, I can enjoy a game that I loved as a kid again as an adult in a low-pressure, just-for-fun environment. I’ve always wanted to draft in tournaments, and now I can weekly. I’m renewed, I’m invigorated, and I’m a fan again. It feels like I’ve just reconnected with an old friend I’ve not seen for years, and we’re picking up right where we left off.
Thanks Jeff for having a great idea when opportunity knocked.
Have you ever rediscovered a passion for a hobby from your youth? Or have you even considered delving back into something you loved in the past? Let us know!
Cover photo is copyright of Wizards of the Coast.
Dante is the resident comic book savant of The Geek Embassy. He’s been reading comics for as long as he can remember, and now that he’s a librarian he gets to advocate for comics in libraries and get paid for it. He’s also a tabletop gaming fan, especially those that involve cards, with favorites including Sentinels of the Multiverse, Magic: The Gathering, Bang!, Smash Up, Star Realms, and 7 Wonders. Dante is a library professional at Portland Community College in Hillsboro, OR.