Casual Encounters- Embracing Change in MTG and Life
I don’t usually figure that I am the type of person that gets all reflective. I very much live in the here and now. I focus on what is in front of me, what needs to be done, and I try very much to not get ahead of myself. However, every once in awhile something happens to me that forces me to sit back and really take stock of where I am and what I am all about.
As some of you may be aware, during the day I am a teacher. I love my job. I love working with my students as they grow into outstanding young men and women. I relish their successes, and I genuinely feel for them when they falter and stumble. I wouldn’t trade the job for anything. If you aren’t familiar with schools, it takes a lot of planning year to year to be able to keep a school running and publicly funded schools need to ensure that they have the appropriate number of staff for their site. In my school area we start that process in April and it doesn’t get fully resolved until August and even then can be a kind of up and down affair.
A year ago, at this time of year, I opted to move from a safe and sure thing at a solid school in order to search out a new job and some new experiences because I thought my teaching was getting a little on the stale side. I landed a job at a small school and have been forced to not only take a much larger leadership role than anticipated, but also challenge myself with my teaching and new subjects that I haven’t taught before. The experience has been healthy to say the least. Sadly, the staffing process for next school year has just begun and I found out that my small school is shrinking a little bit further and that I am now supernumerary. That means that I’m out a job and will need to look for a new job for next school year.
Am I a little sad to leave? Yes. I have been afforded some tremendous opportunities and I have really enjoyed my experience. However, staring down the barrel of forced change doesn’t feel so bad. I’ve done this before, just a year ago, BY CHOICE, and done well. Surely I can find myself another new job now that I NEED to go and find a new job. Desperation can be a very powerful motivator, but so is the prospect of change.
Many of us resist change. It scares us and makes us tentative. However, I have seen that change can be extremely positive in my professional life leading to greater enjoyment of what I love to do. Does it still scare me? You bet, but I am learning more and more to accept this change and to try and use it to my advantage and to improve myself.
How does all this discussion of change pertain to playing Magic? I think it is very straight forward. Change in Magic is good. We all love the change afforded us on account of rotation and a new block. This is a type of forced change that impacts most of us who play this game and helps to keep the game fresh and interesting at every level. To see the recent transition in Standard away from 4-colour insanity to more modest 2 and 3-colour decks has been refreshing. We see new cards, new combinations, and new abilities that will help redefine how we think about Magic.
We can also see this sort of forced change through things like the recent Bannings and Restrictions. Adding new cards to the card pool of a format like Modern goes a long way to help freshen up a format an unlock new potential combinations that will make the environment more enjoyable.
However, for every instance of someone getting excited for change, we see other things where players complain about all sorts of changes. I can scroll through my Twitter feed and see people complain about all sorts of Magic issues on a daily basis. I understand that some changes may not feel positive, but I would ask players to at least keep an open mind. Play points may not be all bad for MTGO. MTG finance might be more predictable at some point down the road. Less coverage of GPs may not be a bad thing instead of competing with everyone on Twitch for the attention of Magic players. But if we all complain about such things instead of embracing some of these changes, or at least giving the people who planned the change the benefit of the doubt, then we are limiting ourselves.
Then there is the question of change that you have brought upon yourself by choice. This might be the most difficult area because many times it is unclear how we, as players, can change and grow. However, perhaps it is a matter of becoming more attuned with the story of the game and paying more attention in that realm to help deepen your appreciation for the game. Perhaps it is uncovering a new fun podcast or website for inspiration. Maybe you just commit yourself to spending more time playing a given format into to try and grow your skill and understanding. Regardless of what you have chosen, making those first steps down the path of change can open up countless opportunities and be something that pushes you to be better.
For me, I look at the next few months of impending change as a positive. Am I sad? Yes. I hate to leave my school. I’m also sad when I take apart old decks from formats that I enjoyed and had kept together for nostalgia, but sometimes those cards can be put to better use elsewhere. However, the new possibilities that can exist from this change can be very positive. I like building new decks and I enjoy new challenges professionally. Things will be stressful and tense in the next few weeks as I attend interviews, but that’s part of the challenge and one I look forward to facing. I can’t wait and I am hoping that there is a perfect dream job out there for me somewhere. In the meantime I am going to enjoy the time at my current school, enjoy a little Magic, and get ready for whatever may come my way.
@bgray8791 on Twitter