Monday, September 06, 2010

Magic for the Cure: An Experiment in Generosity

I was raised with a habit of giving back. Many of you likely were as well – we are judges after all, and what does that involve if not giving back to the community which has so richly impacted our lives? For me, it started in 1989 when I was in 6th grade. A 15 year old girl in my hometown was kidnapped and killed. She had played in the same softball league as my sister and I, and my dad had umpired many of her games – our league was one big family, and we were shaken. But that spring, the league pulled together and organized a (now annual) tournament in her memory, with all proceeds going to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Fast forward to 2009. Lurking on the Judge list, I see a post about the Mana Pool charity tournament for local food banks. I think, “I should do something like that.” A few months later, Lloyd Dodson hosts a tournament to benefit HopeLine. This time, I travel out to play in it and think, “I should do something like this.” Then a friend at work is diagnosed with breast cancer, and our office starts organizing a team for the Susan G. Komen race in her honor. And I think, “This is it, this I can do!

The shop I organize tournaments for feels cramped at about 16 players, plus it’s a small community. So I got out my calendar and the events list for a shop 30 miles south of me and found a day when they had no major events booked (they run not just Magic but several miniatures and board game events a week). Luckily for me, it was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend – college students would be back in town and most of the older players with kids wouldn’t probably be going far that weekend either. I talked with the store’s owners and offered to manage the whole of the tournament if they would let me reserve the space for a charity event. They agreed, and I started the wheels turning.

My first email went to several individuals who I knew personally, either from working major events together or shops that I frequented. I shamelessly solicited prize donations and contacts so I could beg for more prizes. I wrote up a more detailed description of what I wanted the tournament to be, and sent it to be posted on the host store’s website as well as the “local events” page run by the nearest large tournament organizer (thank you, Steve and Lloyd!). I sent a similar writeup to the judge list… and then my inbox exploded.

I expected to hear from judges – at least some of the folks I’ve worked with. That I would maybe get a card here or there. I thought if things went well, I’d have enough prizes for my top 8. I quickly realized that I was thinking much too small when I got an email from Nick Sabin telling me to contact Andy Heckt about a personal donation. When Big Jace and Gideon arrived in my mailbox, I really started to believe this was going to be big. By the day before the tournament, I had received over $1000 in donated product – everything from storage/organization boxes to t-shirts to Revised duals and bunches of judge foils.

Twenty-seven players participated. As usual, I was the only girl in the building for most of the tournament. Which made it even more special, honestly. It’s easy for breast cancer to feel very gender-centric, and to see men and boys (my youngest player’s deck was built by his mom!) come out to support us meant a lot. We raised $540, which will go directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This amount puts me over triple my individual goal AND pushed my team well over their initial goal as well.

I had enough prizes that I was able to give everyone something AND go back halfway through the list again. For those curious, the top 8 picks were: Box of M11, Box of M11, Big Jace, From the Vault: Relics, Judge Polluted Delta, Revised Volcanic Island, Revised Badlands, Judge Natural Order.

Thank you again to everyone who helped make this possible – even some of you who contacted me but ended up not making it because of last-minute plan changes. Your encouragement helped make this happen. Your gifts will be remembered.

If you think this is an isolated incident, let me tell you, it is NOT. When I played in Lloyd’s tournament, I was positively euphoric. I heard something similar from Martin, one of the participants this weekend. He told me, “I’m not the greatest player ever. I have three kids, so I’m not going to be. But I love playing charity events, because I’ve done what I came to do the minute I handed you my entry fee. I can relax and have fun in a way I can’t in a more competitive event.” Several players asked me to do this again. And if I can help someone else – just contact me. I’ll see what I can send you.

It’s the least I can do to give back.

Regina Cross is a Level 1 Judge in Moberly, Missouri, and the daughter of a three-year breast cancer survivor.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Maybe I'm grasping at straws, trying to make sense of the seemingly senseless. But things are starting to make sense. Weird sense, but sense nonetheless. Call it rationalizing if you like. It's working for me.

Eight months ago -- eight months yesterday, in fact -- my fears were confirmed. I had had a miscarriage before even having my first doctor's appointment of the pregnancy. At the time, I wondered why. I won't say this makes it easier to bear, but part of me looks at where I am right now and thinks "okay, I get it."

On June 20th, I applied for a job, something I would not likely have done when roughly 8 months pregnant. I had my first interview for that job last week -- when I could easily have been on maternity leave. This job could be really amazing and do wonderful things for where I want my career to go.

Last week we finished (with the exception of letters of reference) Colin's application to grad school. Another risk we would not likely have taken.

Thank you, God, for pushing me to live the life you've given me, rather than just waiting for the one I think I want. Thank you for, even in a small way, redeeming that experience.

To redeem - to recover ownership of, to restore the honor, worth or reputation of.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Magic for the Cure

For those who follow this blog and somehow don't know it, I've been playing Magic: the Gathering for the last 16 years. I'm a Tournament Organizer and DCI-certified Judge, and I really love the community of players. Despite all the horrible slurs against gamers, I have seen, over and over again, people banding together through games to do great things. Sometimes those things are small and personal -- building great friendships, telling amazing stories, pulling off combos that no sane person would attempt. But sometimes, those things are phenomenally huge. I hope this will be one of the latter.

In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now one of more than two million survivors in the United States. We owe her early detection and successful treatment to research funded by organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This year, I will be part of the Columbia, MO Race for the Cure in her honor, and I'm asking my friends in the DCI to help out. To raise funds for my Race for the Cure team, I will be organizing Magic for the Cure, to be held at Valhalla's Gate in Columbia, MO. If you would like to donate toward the prize pool, please contact me at rcross126 (at) gmail (dot) com for shipping information.

Tournament Info

Where: Valhalla's Gate
            901 East Nifong, Suite B
            Columbia, MO 65201
When: Sept 4, 2010
           Registration: 11:00 - 11:25 AM
           Tournament begins promptly at 11:30
Entry fee: $20
Format: Standard
Prizes: final list announced at the tournament, but including (as of 9/3/10 - unfortunately some of the promised product did not arrive. If it was yours, I will be emailing you.)--
  • Burning Wish (DCI Judge Foil) x2
  • Decree of Justice (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Gemstone Mine (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Land Tax (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Mind's Desire (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Natural Order (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Phyrexian Dreadnought (DCI Judge Foil) x2
  • Polluted Delta (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Stifle (DCI Judge Foil) 
  • Survival of the Fittest (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Thawing Glaciers (DCI Judge Foil)
  • Cryptic Command (Player Rewards Textless Foil)
  • Okina Nightwatch playset (Arena League Foils)
  • Giant Growth (FNM Foil)
  • Revised Badlands
  • Revised Volcanic Island
  • Birds of Paradise (M11 Buy-a-Box Promo)
  • Day of Judgment (Zendikar Buy-a-Box Promo)
  • Vivid Meadow (signed by Rob Alexander)
  • Island (signed by Gabriel Nassif)
  • Forest (Asian foil promo)
  • Liliana's Specter (M11 Game Day Promo) (x10 - these will be split up in some as yet undetermined fashion)
  • Gideon Jura
  • Jace, the Mind Sculptor
  • From the Vault: Relics
  • Booster Box of M11 (x2)
  • print of Force of Will -- mat and frame by Lloyd Dodson and his wife
  • Arena Land Set
  • Rise of the Eldrazi longbox with dividers
  • 2011 Intro Pack "Breath of Fire"
  • Rise of the Eldrazi Intro Pack "Eldrazi Arisen"
  • Time Spiral Theme Deck "Fun with Fungus"
  • Eventide Theme Deck "Superabundance"
  • Time Spiral Theme Deck "Reality Fracture" (Italian)
  • Alara Reborn XL t-shirt
  • 2010 Core Set XXL t-shirt
  • 2011 Core Set XXL t-shirt
  • Zendikar XL t-shirt
  • 2010 Core Set XL t-shirt
Thank you to our sponsors and contributors:
31st Century Games
A to Z Comics
The Basement
Bernd Buldt
Lloyd Dodson
Feral Events
Steve Ferrell
Andrew Heckt
Meta-Games Unlimited
Jeff Morrow
Ogre's Games (note: Ogre's is having a 1K on Sept 17)
Nick Sabin
Valhalla's Gate
Velocity Games

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Yesterday, at age 33, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It explains the problems I've been having with my left hand -- but it still sucks. A lot.

For any of you who may not know me well, or who haven't read this before, let me scan over my hobbies for you:
  • I play cards (regular and Magic: the Gathering)
  • I knit, crochet, counted crossstitch
  • I type. Lots. I am on the internet pretty much any time I'm not asleep or doing one of the things above.
Sure, I read a lot, too, but usually WHILE doing one of the handcrafts. Screwing with how my hands work is messing up my whole life.

But I am secure. I am a mighty woman of God. I am clothed with strength and dignity. God has given me security in him, and no diagnosis can take that away.

But I'm still pissed about it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I'm going to try this again... please feel free to read any/all of my previous posts. My last couple of months have been in-sane. But a friend told me:

One moment becomes one minute becomes one hour becomes one day becomes one month becomes one year becomes your testimony.

Someday, I will look back on this time and see why. For now, I've just got to keep walking.