One of several photos that Reddit user Lemaymaymaster took next to the exposed butt cracks present at the Grand Prix Richmond Magic: the Gathering tournament.
You know that scene in every action movie where the retired cop gets caught in the middle of a highjacking and his very presence screams out to all of us, “Chill the fuck out; I got this”? Well, as an avid Redditor and Magic: the Gathering player, when it comes to Crackgate, that’s exactly how I feel. The story has made it, in one form or another, all the way to TIME Magazine. But how much does the mainstream media really know or understand about what took place? Time for me to utter an “I’m getting too old for this shit” or two and start busting heads.
For those of you unaware, Crackgate is the cute title bestowed upon an incident in which Sidney Blair, a player of the Magic: the Gathering card game attended a recent, massive, tournament (yes, that geeky card game you saw played in the lunchroom has tournaments) in Richmond, VA and took photos of himself next to players with exposed asscracks. Blair then posted the photos on the website Reddit both in its /funny and /MagicTheGathering groups. The post went very, very viral and came to the attention of the DCI, the governing body of Magic’s tournaments (because some people actually make a living playing in these events), who quickly issued an 18-month tournament ban for Blair due to what they construed as bullying of players of their game as well as casting the Magic-playing community as a whole in a bad light. Blair hasn’t been heard from since, and Magic players have been plunged into debating whether or not his actions are deserving of punishment.
As I admitted above, I play Magic: the Gathering to this day. And I can absolutely and unequivocally state that its players like the ones photographed by Sidney Blair, and not players like Sidney Blair, that caused me to sell my physical collection of cards and jump to the game’s online counterpart back in 2003. For whatever reason, M:tG seems to attract only the most socially awkward of souls. I’m a geeky dude, and these guys made me feel like Lord Jock of Poonslaughterberg in their presence. Not to mention the level of acceptable hygiene in the average Magic playgroup was abysmal. It’s a shame, because it’s an incredibly well-designed game. But, for whatever reason, playing it always meant wading through a sea of putrid-smelling social retards and feeling really, really bad about myself for enjoying a game that seemed to only attract mutants.
Running into guys like Sidney was such a rare treat because so few people playing Magic: the Gathering seemed to possess a shred of social awareness and could laugh about what we saw around us instead of feeling like a part of it. I liken it to the moment Jack Nicholson hears Chief Bromden speak in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: In an ocean of madness, by God, there was someone as sane as you! You could go outside and share a smoke and rag on people wearing furry tails or size XXXXXXL black trench coats or whatever other manner of vag repellant they had managed to adorn themselves with and feel a little less alone.
I’m going to leave you with this anecdote because I feel things are running long and I want to bring this bitch home: Back in 2002, I attended the Magic: the Gathering Virginia State Championship tournament which was held in the very same venue as Grand Prix Richmond. A few rounds into the affair, an incredibly slovenly homeless man wandered into the facility and over to the microphone that the tournament judges used to make announcements. He said “hello” a few times, then uttered the following: “Man, y’all motherfuckers stink! You some smelly motherfuckers!” With that, he walked off to frolic in the urine puddle from whence he came.
So the next time the great minds over at Wizards of the Coast (the Hasbro subsidiary that produces Magic) thinks that it needs to ban guys like Sidney Blair to keep its tournament experience from being off-putting, maybe it should also consider the fact that, when at such an event, the first reaction of a man who plucked his breakfast from a dumpster was to marvel at its odor.