Gregory Cole here with some succulent words in regard to my latest adventures. Take a sip of your coffee and have a seat as you dive deep into my Las Vegas Local qualifier experience.
First off if you don't know Kyle by now.... you need to get to know him! Kyle helps run Meta Potion, the team, and the site, and he even helped edit this article.(Disclaimer Gregory Cole has heart, our Warrior of Light has a well deserved title). Kyle has his qualification for Nationals already and even achieved top 8 at Nationals last year. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have made it to the Vegas Qualifier. He showed up outside my house at 6:00AM just to try and help me qualify for Nationals.
With Kyle, I could see through everything. I had the all seeing eye. He spoke with the most humility. His heart to heart conversations delivered the foreseen blows.
Kyle Mcginty is a special dude, and I am honored to have spent the time on the road with him.
We spent 7 hours together on the road, and I am happy to have spent my time that way. Kyle has two decades of TCG experience behind him. So I knew while setting up the trip that if he trusted me enough we would be discussing some of the most personal aspects of our lives and some innovative TCG tech as well. What we discussed in 7 hours and the actions that I was dealt by his presence is another way this game and community has continued to reward me. It was all on another level, there was honesty and preparation in test playing that I didn’t realize someone like Kyle would do for me. After all we are on separate teams but I think there is something more to that, in a way we are both a part of this community and that in itself is a team with shared interest and goals.
If there is anything I want everyone to get from this piece, its that anyone has the power to influence entire communities positively. It's easy to target myself, Gregory Cole, a new player that has never won a trophy through this game, and declare that everything I try to do to grow the FFTCG community has no benefit or positive results whatsoever, that in fact I'm truly wasting my time. People can do what Kyle McGinty did, display that "Iron Will" support for another member of your community, so strong that you are outside their house at 6AM so that they can make them believe in themselves through this game. That achieving something such as qualifying for Nationals is something that they can actually do, that they are strong enough to do so. Even if they don't win the tournament 4-7 hours away in Las Vegas or Seattle, they will never forget what someone did for them. Some of the most important aspects of life can happen by simply having a discussion on the road. It's those actions, big or small, that yield the biggest reward you can possibly imagine and materialize. If you think that putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, that nothing will happen, you're absolutely wrong and I implore you to find out, Kyle touched on this very subject with his last article and I will reiterate it here, now. The people I have met, the people I have interacted with, they are the ones who make all the efforts worthwhile at the end of the day.
I was attending locals last year with barely enough people to do 3 rounds. I attended every single event, sometimes 5 days a week hoping that we can grow the community, even if just 1 more person came. Recently I attended my local at Card Game Coliseum and was absolutely blown away by the amount of new people I've never seen before. That made my heart melt and what used to be 4 people turned into 20 on a weekday. I expanded to a new shop outside my house and we are working to do the same thing like we did with CGC, everywhere. This experience is for everyone out there that is busting their butts in the local game shops because they love this game and community so much. It gets there, I promise you, when we are demoing the game at conventions, we explain to every out of town person how to find their local shop, how to call for tournaments, and how to connect with their local and greater communities. If I know people by name in far places, I will direct new players personally to them whether it be Anthony Figueroa in New York, Jordan Denk in Canada, Adam Lane/Chris Adams in Virginia, Laurent Nguyen in Nor Cal, Matt Rice in Michigan, Jason Wivert/Vince Angeles/Michael Velasco/BTH Crew in San Diego, Ronald Magpantay in Central Cal, or Henry Do in Anaheim.
Just like Sam Prime, Zach Burrell, and Kody Snodgras said about their missing episode of the Chocobros podcast this week, their team mantra is all about growing the game, not sabotaging it, there are ways to carry ourselves professionally in the community, that be online or publicly, to where every single action and discussion takes our community to heights unimaginable. There are things that new players could read, could witness, that would have them regret just buying their starter deck. Its painful to watch toxicity affect brand new players that will be robbed of an experience like ours that we respect so much. It happens every single day and sadly can be easily avoided. I have personally witnessed Square Enix at conventions break their backs to push our game and community to maximum levels. A massive shout out to Richard Brady, Shannon, Jenn, Peter, Will, Kyle, Sarah, Greg, and Romeo. If only people could witness how passionate these people are about helping the game...
We are a TEAM. All of US! SHFFL, Meta Potion, Chocobros, RVA Returners, Triple Triad, Inland Emperors, all the LGS/shops, Square Enix, were all working together to grow this game we love and the life that comes with it. I would have never been to Indianapolis, Toronto, Boston, Seattle and more, unless it was because of this game, this community, people like Matthew Okimoto, Angelica Okimoto, Riccardo Lazcano, Brian Burckley, Virgil Rico, that went with me to almost every Crystal Cup. My teammates Luigi Moreno, Arvin Bernardo, Nathan Perez, Jason Treul, that talk with me every single day, even when its not about cards or rad deck ideas. EVERYONE IN FFTCG AFTER DARK. These moments, experiences, and growth as a person is just 1% of the rewards I've received from this community. It's seriously like living in a movie. If you're looking to meet friends that are almost entirely just like you, this is the place. They're real down to earth people.
A new shop will pop up on your local pre release list for every new opus. Reach out, there are people you haven't met there that play, that want to meet you, that want to be your friend, that want to grow the community with you, that want to go with you to a nationals qualifier event 4-6 hours away just so you all can qualify. Get to know the shop owner, be respectful, work with them and bring your allies from other shops to keep circulating the game and investing in another day you get to play the game. Get lost in the community growing aspect, as the rewards are beyond your wildest dreams. Its as easy as showing up once a week and communicating over Facebook Messenger in group chats.
FFTCG can be your stress relief outlet, your glass of wine, your dessert. It's a place where you are more than welcome to be yourself, where people just like you have been waiting for you to come hang out with them. You can share an AIRBNB in Indianapolis at GENCON with 15 people, and they'll be so happy you're there jamming games or eating pizza with them!
One person can be anything. One person can do anything. People together can do everything. Fight for your community, fight for your nationals qualifier. That's the life you're meant to experience. If done right, everyone you meet and know will be there forever.
Unfortunately, I did not qualify in Las Vegas. I did place 4th however with inspiration from Kyle McGinty who went undefeated during the Swiss rounds. I purchased my plane & event tickets for the last Crystal Cup in Seattle, Washington. It's not just about having the time of your life playing the game at Crystal Cups, LQ's, or locals, its also about getting dinner or drinks after with everyone you know at the tournaments. I cannot wait to meet new friends, and live life to the max with current friends there. I will be at the LCQ in Los Angeles 9/28. I may not qualify for Nationals, but I will do everything I can to get close, and hang with the members of the community from all over the world during that weekend, cheering them on, so that they can make their dreams come true, too.
May your actions come from deep within your heart. Show them the light.
For your viewing pleasure here is some pictures of my local community!
PS: The drive was painless. Time flies when you’re able to connect with others in deep and strategic conversations.So make friends, extend an arm, and show up for the fun of it too. This goes for every event, plane or car!
- GC 2018
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