"The Rock, Rocks and Something on the Rocks "
Were you ever so excited to go somewhere that you would literally count the hours away? I was – my third Worlds, although it would be my first time working the main tournament. So at 6am my alarm clock screamed, “Wake up your royal laziness!” (He knows what I would do to him if he called me a lazy sob) After having something to drink and filling my stomach I hit my bike. After that and “training” for 2 hours the waiting began. I would be humming “If You’re Going to San Francisco,” but I would be even worse than Sean Connery. Luckily I had a Tangerine Dream CD to keep me company for the next 8 hours or so.
After some Sam Adams in Philly my voyage continued. At 9pm local time I arrived at San Francisco Airport. After getting to my hotel at 10pm, and being awake for 25 hours I wondered what to do next. So walking the city I found the site, naked without any Worlds flavor. Getting back at 1am after having some local drinks I went to bed, ready for a big day of sightseeing tomorrow. It was now Saturday, and I spent most of my day walking from the piers to Chinatown and back again, and then onto the Golden Gate Bridge, over the very foggy bridge and back again. Guess I was getting ready for Worlds, because my feet were killing me!
I could talk about the trips to Alcatraz, San Jose’s Winchester Mansion, Exploratorium and all the other great attractions in and around the great city of San Francisco, but that’s not why I’m writing this, although they were great trips. This article is actually about the World Championships 2004. Those actually started on Tuesday, when I finally saw the location and how it looked with all the championship flags. I met some of the judges, and after some talking I went with Richard Drijvers to the Hard Rock Café. After some local brews and getting a deck for Jelger Wiegersma we were ready for the welcome reception and BBQ. The food was good, but soon the weather took the best of us. After more chit-chat I went to my hotel to get ready for the Big Day.
Or was it? On Wednesday I was assigned to the deck checking team under the lead of the great Collin Jackson (congrats on your level 5). With only one decklist error (an illegal sideboard) and one decklist that needed checking there wasn’t really much to do that day. Even while floating I only had to answer 2 rules questions.
Thursday I was assigned to Side Events as Head Judge of a Mirrodin Limited Event. With the very large number of 8 people playing – including judges Collin Jackson, Seamus Campbell, and Sheldon Menery – things went quickly. After 4 rounds Seamus took the big prize and Collin came in third. Sheldon? I congratulate him for not being last.
Friday was my day off, and what do you do on your day off when you’ve already seen the city? Yes, you go play side events. I played in 3 events and had some good plays, such as casting Solar Tide and the red Bringer back-to-back, but alas didn’t make the top. Guess I’m better at judging.
Saturday was really exciting for me, especially when I saw my name in bold on the team list, which meant I was a team leader, specifically of the deck check team. My team consisted of Ingo, Jean-Christophe and Paul. Since there was a new draft every round for the national teams, we didn’t have to actually count the decklists, but we still had to sort them and find the decklists for deck checks and Internet coverage. The first round didn’t go well in my opinion. We finished the deck checks in time but it was 15 minutes into the round that all decklists where accounted for. I was not satisfied with that, and I wanted a maximum of 5 minutes for the next round. We managed to get them done before the round even started, but this time the scorekeeper played a trick on us. We got some tables to deck check, but then they repaired the round. So my team members were waiting at the wrong tables. Luckily one of the tables was a feature match, which gave Ingo enough time to straighten things out. We managed to do this deck check in 9 minutes, which is still within the 10 minute barrier. The last two rounds went perfectly, and as a whole I think we made a very good team. Thumbs up to Paul who has been a judge for only three months and performed well for someone of that little experience. All in all, it was also a good experience for me, and I thank Andy Heckt for giving me the opportunity.
Saturday evening we had the judge dinner, and I feel really sorry for those that couldn’t make it because they were working Side Events. Thumbs up to you guys. It was a good way to see the judges in another environment and to talk about something other than Magic. I only wish they could close at Dutch times!
On Sunday I again worked Sides. Since there wasn’t really much to do, I pulled myself into a GP trial. During deck construction I found a guy who was late with his decklist. He really made a mess of his table and didn’t know the final cards in his deck. I recommended him for a deck check because I thought he might have written down cards on his list that weren’t actually in his deck, but his deck was okay. My shift ended just before the top eight, and the only warning I gave was for exceeding the pre-game time limit. This was a deck check table, and we ended up giving them 12 extra minutes. Luckily, they finished before time was called for the round. I was a bit too late for Sheldon’s Elder Dragon Legend Highlander Tournament; in fact, they had already started the second game. After watching that for a little too long I went for something to eat (I was REALLY hungry). I went to the Blue Mermaid again and was relieved that Andy told me where the gang was, as the dinner was the worst I had all week. After a small talk at Jack’s with Andy and Bruno (WotC Belgium) I went back to my hotel where I didn’t get any sleep because I was too excited about the trip back home.
All in all this was the greatest Magic experience I ever had. I loved the great city, the World Championships, and especially all the great people.
Many thanks to: Andy Heckt, Collin Jackson, Gis Hoogendijk, JC Stefani, Johanna Knuutinen, Paul MacAlpine, Ingo Muhs, Seamus Campbell, and anyone else I may have forgotten.