Finding My Community

The other day ago, I found a community of people, one which I felt that I belonged in, that I have never gotten to be a part of until now. I really like Yu-Gi-Oh, but only a few handful of people at my school play it, so the other day ago I went to a game store to compete at my first-ever Yu-Gi-Oh tournament and although I had been there before, I had never really seen what the people were like there.

When I was dropped off at the store I immediately went to ask the shop owner if I could sign up for the tournament. It was a small place with racks of unorganized cards except for some, that were sleeved in binders. There was a refrigerator behind the desk as well as a microwave and toaster oven stacked on top, and also behind the desk where the shop owner was were some sealed products like decks, booster packs, and sleeves. Anything for sale that wasn’t at the desk were scattered among the three or four glass cases. These contained many figures and sometimes just decoration that wasn’t for sale. Now, this building wouldn’t have seemed so crowded if it wasn’t for the many tables and chairs scattered around. There were only one or two tables that didn’t have a giant rubber playmat covering it, and on top of all this, the entire place was decorated with posters with most of them being Yu-Gi-Oh posters from the early 2000’s. The store owner was really busy with crowding shoppers when I asked to sign up and he told me to wait a little while. I figured it would be a while until he had his hands free so I tried to find a kid I could duel. I finally found somebody and I felt pretty disappointed when I learned how inexperienced he was. He only watched the show and never actually learned how to play so he just had a bunch of cards that were played in the show and he kept making mistakes. I used a deck with older cards from the show too in order to give him a chance at winning. He had to leave when his friend came so after that I browsed through some cards while putting them on hold and when I finally got to sign up the store owner told me the tournament would start at 5:30.

It was around 3:15 and my dad said that he would pick me up at 6:15. I was a little worried about not getting to stay for the entire tournament but I just tried to enjoy myself. I decided to try and find somebody else to duel and eventually found an adult. I was happy that I was dueling somebody older because it would mean that they would be more experienced. When I dueled him though, I realized that there was a more technical side of Yu-Gi-Oh that I had never learned. Because of that, I ended up getting confused and forfeiting. This made me worried about what the tournament was gonna be like and I sat down for a moment and browsed through some more cards as I thought to myself how little I knew compared to people in the tournament. I bought some booster packs and then I tried to find an easier challenge. Most of the kids were gone now and while I was looking for someone to duel I found a friend named Chris who I dueled last time I was at the game store. He was about 26 and I walked over to him and asked him if he was in the tournament. He said it would be his second one and I told him this one was gonna be my first. We sat down and dueled for a little while and it was fun because even though we were so different in age, we were pretty evenly matched.

Finally 5:30 came, and the tournament was starting. There were no more kids left except for me and somebody started to call my name among the hustle and bustle of people getting to their matches. I raised my hand and found the person who I was supposed to play against first. We got set up and I told him that it was my first tournament. He beat me on the second turn of each duel and said that he felt kinda bad. I told him not to be because otherwise it wouldn’t be fun. This was very true and even though I lost it was still kinda fun to play. Afterwards I bought a microwave pizza and a binder from the shop owner and then found Chris who told me he’d also lost and we dueled until the next match came. In the middle of my second match my dad came and I told him that it would be a while so he said that he’d come back in two hours. I lost my second match too but not as quickly as my first and after that I started to eat my pizza while watching Chris play. On my third match I got a bye meaning an automatic win so I got to watch Chris play again. On the fourth match Chris’s opponent left so he got to watch my match too. This was the closest I came to beating someone and even though I still lost in the end, that feeling of getting better was nice. My dad had come and I got a free booster pack for participating that’s not sold and just for tournaments.

I wasn’t at all sad when I left. I was satisfied, getting to spend a day with a community that is as interested in the stuff I like as much as me. Getting to find my tribe no matter how old they are, be it 12 or 24. Getting to play against people better than me is new for me and I like that. If you liked this post please comment and share it with others, and if you’d like, comment about finding your community too!

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