Jeff Cunningham's "Untold Legends Of The Million Dollar Magic The Gathering Pro Tour"
Misunderstood or understood all too well?
Peter Szigeti. reteP on the IRC. Bugjuicewanted on AIM.
He was Pete, plain Pete, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. He was PTR in slacks. He was Peter in school. He was Pedro on the dotted line. But in my arms he was always Petelita.
They called him the bad boy of Magic. But what does that mean?
He brought a bullhorn to a tournament once. Yeah, okay.
He wears jumpsuits sometimes. Go on...
He fostered scores of Magic players, including yours truly, Derek Starleaf, Rory Draxler, Gary Talim and Max McGuffin, temporarily saving them from the streets, but perhaps damning them to darker fates in the long run...
Did he find the dark energy or did it find him?
Who is Peter Szigeti?
Who is Peter Szigeti?
#03 - Peter Szigeti - GP Turin 03
I don't remember meeting Peter Szigeti. Not the initial encounter, not even the initial event. I'm told we became friends sometime during my stint on the JSS.
My first memory of Peter is from my second Pro Tour, LA 00. I had qualified on the virtue of my Chicago finish and was invited to stay at his house. I was sixteen. It was my first time away from home without a parent. I was a virgin. You know where this is going.
Anyway, I was used to being pampered. Whichever parent would come was like a personal trainer. They would always have food and drink on-hand, and would make sure I was getting enough sleep. My stay with Peter, and what essentially amounts to my introduction to the "Pro Tour Lifestyle" (apparently the same one they're trying to push with the increasingly gaudy Player's Lounge) was a pretty stark contrast.
The first night we stayed at the site until 2 or 3am. He was moneydrafting. I knew moneydrafting from the JSS, but had never seen it so compulsively attended to-it was draft, after draft. I returned to Peter's house exhausted. We had to get up early to beat the traffic. I missed Day 2 at 4-3. I'm not going to say it's because I barely slept, but that might have been part of it. When I miss Day 2 at a Pro Tour, about all I want to do is go somewhere quiet and sleep for a long time. Maybe yell at myself a bit. That sort of thing. To my chagrin, when I asked Peter if we could return to his house soon, he informed me that we would be money-drafting all night. As it turns out, we wouldn't sleep until well after the Top 8...
During those two sleepless nights, I was familiarized with many of the images that have become synonymous with the Pro Tour for me. Mass amounts of cards littering the floor, other teenagers passed out on top of and underneath tables. "Never fall asleep at a Magic tournament" I was warned, as a few of these individuals had water poured on their head, or felt pen moustaches affixed. (In one case, an entire game was set up in front of a person sleeping in their arms at a table. Their "opponent" roused them. "It's your turn, man, come on. I'm going to call the judge." The newly awakened individual would nod, check his hand, then pass the turn.) Moneydraft after moneydraft, the decks blurring together... Endless feature matches... bugs crawling all over my skin...
I had never seen the Pro Tour from this perspective, but this is what it's really like, especially if you don't make Day 2. Tired and wasteful... A petty decadence that cheapens the game. But it's fun while it lasts.
Peter personified my transition from the JSS to the Pro Tour. He was the friend that showed me this Pro Tour, introducing me to the lifestyle and the pros.
This was neither a gentle introduction, nor is an attractive lifestyle, so you may be asking yourself why I was friends with this person. Many public interpretations of "PTR" do not afford him many redeeming qualities. However, these interpretations are simplistic, and an explanation of how reveals what makes him attractive.
Since youth, Peter has been a natural showman. When staying at his house once I noticed his wealth of WWF paraphernalia from childhood. He has a significant acting background. He's sharp and has a creative sense of humor. These influences manifested are "the bad boy of Magic." Was it an act? No. Peter's behavior wasn't part of a separate persona, or was in any way disingenuous, but it was amplified by a dramatic sensibility. Sometimes juvenile, rarely illogical, usually hilarious. And so we were friends.
We share similar sensibilities. Both of us would try to solicit votes for the invitational every year and never get close. I still do. He wrote the funniest piece of writing I've ever read, his Kyle Rose interview. Virtually every report he's ever written (available on MTGPlanet and Brainburst,) his US Nationals 02 preview, and the Geddes Cooper Fiasco, if you can find it, are also standouts. The Kyle Rose interview and the U.S. Nationals preview are conceptually brilliant.
Friendships made through Magic, though, are unique. You spend a lot of time with the same people, but in a condensed period of time. This happens every two months. As a result, if you miss a couple of events, you can completely lose track of a friend. This was the case with Peter, after that LA and before I got on the train at Barcelona.
Peter had begun to fraternize with Greg Rosebury, the internet porn mogul who would open up his Wenatchee residence to the Magic Colony. I have no idea how he became associated with the group, since as far I know he only had a marginal interest in Magic, but he began to arbitrarily pay for people in the groups' flights around the world, renting lavish five star hotel rooms for everyone in the entourage, and routinely burning hundred dollar bills. He was also prone to extreme behavior, and mood swings.
I believe that Peter's sensibility, when combined with this wasteful excess, darkened.
Not only is the continued influence of deranged individuals grating in a fundamental way, but there is a certain dissatisfaction that I myself have felt when doing the GP circuit especially. There's the travel. First, air travel is a schlep. Second, it's unhealthy. The body's designed to sleep and wake up at regular times. Third, this isn't the kind of traveling the most kids do their first year after college, casually backpacking around Australia on a moped. This is flying into a hotel in a random city. Playing cards for two days. Then flying home. Paris? Singapore? Detroit? Chicago? Detroit? You might as well be playing in your garage. The tournament - comes and goes. The locals are inevitably terrible. You stay with the same people. When you moneydraft, and the money doesn't matter, and the cards don't matter, and the games don't matter, it gets old. You begin to wonder what the f*** you're doing. The whole thing can really sour you. It doesn't have to be this way, of course, but that's how it can get if it becomes too regular an occurrence and gets out of hand. In this case, it got out of hand.
I know this experience wore down his interest in the game. I wonder, though, if it also had an effect on his sensibility.
All PTR's big displays... too many to recall... the Gary Wise Falling Off the Train Reality Hits Party, Our Move Games, whatever controversy was being publicized at the time... always just struck me as funny, and enjoyable in the way that spectacle often is. But I sometimes sensed certain meanness in smaller scale encounters. We all get mad, not all of us have the dramatic capability to be overtly nasty in a way that is successful.
Peter had the ability to strong-arm even his friends in many cases. When people know you are capable of lashing out in a palatable way, they will often gloss over the details you may not want to hear. It is in this way that I believe PTR's persona may have harmed him.
Like a professional body-builder on his day off, PTR was at his most intimidating when he wasn't even working. PTR in form was fair, brilliant, funny. PTR when frustrated, in the same way that we all get frustrated, had the unfortunate ability to cause significant harm. To the casual observer, both were the same. This confusion has caused many to pigeonhole him as a jerk.
As I said, I believe traveling took a toll on him. However, it was also necessary to stay in the game; PTR often needed the points. The end seemed inevitable. Burnout.
The first indication of a fading sense of judgment was the Searing Flesh incident in Yokohama. (After drawing the game-winning Searing Flesh, a pet card among our group, he wiped his *ss with it before presenting it to his bewildered Japanese opponent. He received an $800 game loss for this offense.) There was no ill-intent behind it, but I think it revealed that he was losing restraint, maybe not caring as much.
Finally, shortly after Pro Tour: San Diego, where PTR was seen scribbling Marvel URLs on Feature Match boards, seemingly trying to get banned, he was banned.
Whether or not it was justified, one wonders if it was for the best. It seemed PTR had had enough.
Under different circumstances, I think Peter could be the best thing that ever happened to Wizards and the Pro Tour. The story seemed more exciting with a villain - not a cheater, just someone devious and outspoken. If not that, there must have been some way they could've put his promotional ability to good use. One part of me thinks they should've put him on the pay roll.
The other wonders if they would ever have been able to control him. Maybe it did have to be this way.
I consider Peter Szigeti an unsung hero of Magic. He played an important role in the Pro Tour which was never acknowledged. In some ways, he played his part too well; those who did not appreciate his antics have loved forgetting his contributions. He has written a handful of strategy articles, and a wealth of tournament reports, all of which are worthwhile. Most of all, though, he brought energy to the Pro Tour. Smart, sharp, energy- the stuff Magic's all about... resources that ought never be squandered. (Unless playing a Prosperous Bloom, of course.)
But it's over now. And this is his swansong. Like a dying Plaguespitter's.
GP TURIN 01
by Peter Szigeti
So where am I? I'm in some hotel room. I just, wake up, and I'm in, in, a hotel room. There's the key. It feels like maybe it's just the first time I've been here, but perhaps I've been here for a week, three months. It's - it's kind of hard to say. I don't, I don't know. It's just an anonymous room. This time its in Italy.
I was the hottest up and comer on the PT, besides, of course, Alan Comer. I had two of the hottest pro's on my side, however. I had Dan Clegg, who was peaking in his Magic career, and Brock Parker, who was widely regarded as one of the top 5 players in the game. Brock was a big name, he was big time Johnny Parker, you couldn't touch him, you had to go through his head of security, Abner Coats. Dan was just a flunky who happened to be good at Magic.
Aside on Brock Parker:
Anything Brock wanted was a phone call away. Free cars. The keys to a dozen hideout flats all over the city. He bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend and then he'd either blow the winnings in a week or go to Paradise Poker to pay back WSEX. Didn't matter. It didn't mean anything. When he was broke, he'd go out and borrow some more. He ran everything. He paid off Judges. He paid off lawyers. He especially paid off hookers. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it's all over. And that's the hardest part, for him. Today everything is different; he gets no action... he has to wait around like everyone else. He's an average nobody... gets to live the rest of his life like a schnook. But at least he has that trophy.
Aside on Dan Clegg:
Strange memories on this nervous night in Los Angeles. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era - the kind of peak that never comes again. Turin in the new millennium was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. Dan was using mind-expanding drugs to take him places that no one could go, and using [censored - women of the night]. Dan was a simple man, and there isn't much more to say about him or his place in the world.
It was time to prove to my friends that I was worth a damn. Sometimes that means dying, but sometimes it means killing a whole lot of people.
The most important aspect of the team environment is the team name. There have been a lot of bad names, and a lot of good names in PT history. I care more about my team name being clever, or lewd, than winning. For an Italian tournament with a foreign judge, I knew I could get away with murder. When I consulted my team for their input, they were largely useless. Well actually, Clegg was useless, and Brock was just large. The task was left to me. Ideas ran through my head like a Rushing River with kicker, Forked, Miraried, Spliced, and whatever else you can think of. After days of deliberation, and hundreds of possibilities, I narrowed it down to either "Brock is Fat", "Kyle Rose is a Hillbilly", or "Teabaggin Turin". I finally settled on "Teabaggin Turin". Since we were in a foreign country, almost no one knew what it meant, although Teabagging is commonplace in the U.S.. It is just about as common as a Cleveland Steamer, Cincinnati Bow-tie, or the ceaseless Dirty Sanchez. The only people who knew the true meaning, (which was simply that we liked to have Tea at high noon) were the pirate-like ABU team.
One hilarious moment was watching Mikey P ask "what is Teabaggin?" and then Zvi respond with "she she she she it means 'hate' she she she". That was an exact conversation, I kid you not. We were out of control with laughter, and then Alex Shvartsman dropped a bomb (similar to the weapons of mass destruction his country, the USSR, harvested during the cold war). Judging by the cackling of Zvi, I thought Shvartsman was just whispering sweet nothings into his ear. I overheard the whisper, which I had to decode, since it was in a top secret communist code, which I deciphered as "Teabagging is the act of [censored]..." After informing the trio of oddities that Teabaggin' Turin simply meant we enjoyed high tea at noon, oftentimes with crumpets, we were on our way.
We were all playing with different teams for the Pro Tour, so this event was merely an excuse to have a nice Italian weekend, in sunny South Africa. When we arrived at the venue, I glanced at the tournament price, 392,000 shiny Lira. I told my team I could not afford the Grand Prix let alone anything else in the country, and I resigned myself to walking the streets of the miserable town for the rest of the weekend. Begging for Lira to buy food at the local McDonalds. When I was informed that 392,000 Lira was only $5, my mood could only be described as jovial. An interesting fact, this tournament took place while the Euro was just a glimmer in the Pope's eye. Making conversion rates and money drafts impossible. Rest in Peace John Paul, for making money drafts possible in Europe, respect.
As we opened our first sealed decks, I was taking a dump. I spent the entire deck building process trying to figure out how to let one loose in a European toilet. If you have never encountered one of these ghastly devices, consider yourself lucky. The toilet is basically a hole in the ground, with a step. My description cannot do it justice, but it does have one good thing going for it, there is no possible way Gary T could clog a hole in the ground. Now I have heard this oft-large Hindi man claim he could clog Mt. Everest, but I would wager one million Lira he could not clog a European toilet. When I got back from my adventure - which I can only describe as a disaster (I just doodied in my pants rather than a hole in the ground) - I saw my deck. It couldn't really be described as a deck... it had a lot in common with what was lurking in my underpants. It was basically a mound of cards Brock and Clegg didn't want to use. I quickly assembled the four-color masterpiece, it was truly the worst Team Sealed deck I have ever had the pleasure to play with. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this masterpiece somewhere between poor, and piss poor. Thankfully, I only had to play one round with this unreasonably bad pile of detritus. I lost within ten minutes, which gave me enough time to rush back to the hotel, change my diapers, and prepare for the final three rounds of sealed deck. Brock won, celebrated with pizza. Dan won, celebrated with pills. To each his own.
There was a lunch break in-between rounds 3 and 4. Many innocent pizzas lost their lives that day, Brock conquered Italian restaurants like Alexander's conquest through the then known world. Brock's was more of a triumph, and definitely more of a success. He toppled every topping known to man. I think I even saw him dip a slice in Pepto Bismol.
Our second decks were even worse than the first. Unbelievably there were almost no playable cards, but there were also no good opponents so it didn't even matter. We once again made two great decks, and one super stainerino. For those of you who don't know what a super stainerino is, I can only describe it as Matt Linde. I lost the rest of my matches in convincing fashion, winning only two games in the final three rounds. However, powered by the force (of pepperoni) Brock was a Juggernaut. Also, unbelievably, Clegg showed up for all his rounds, didn't cheat, didn't stall, didn't [censored - extensive drug reference that went on for approximately this ----------------------------------------------- ------------------------------ -------------------------------- ----------------------------- ------------------------- long] off of his life pad. With those two winning round after round, we had a great shot at making the top 4.
After Day 1, Clegg disappeared. Most of you would probably be worried if your anchor disappeared during one of the most pivotal moments of the tournaments, but Brock and I weren't. After eating at a fine Italian Restaurant ((((or one) or two)) or three))) or four)))), Brock and I retired to our hotel. We later were told by "Broken" Noah Boeken that Dan was "getting down to business, as usual." For those of you who don't know Dan, he is a big fan of the [censored - Dan's alleged sexual habits]. And by [censored - Dan's alleged sexual habits, nice words], I do in fact mean [censored - Dan's alleged sexual habits, less nice words]. The funny thing about Dan's illicit habit, is that he doesn't ever indulge in [censored - Dan's alleged sexual habits, the reprise]. Now I know what you're thinking, he does it for the [censored - drugs]. Nope. He does it for the conversations. I kid you not, Dan pays as much as three hundred million Lira an hour just to talk to girls. He is also with them for the [censored], I won't lie.
Dan is now married and has a son. (This is not a joke.)
Random happenings throughout the night spent with Brock:
1) I noticed Brock has a terrible crack problem, not the same type of crack problem Dan has - I am talking hairy, sweaty, crack.
2) Italy is not what the Sopranos make it out to be.
3) Lira is a comical, nonsensical currency.
4) Chris Benafel wears women's underwear.
5) Alex Borteh is [censored - mean things about Alex].
6) Mitchell Tamblyn has [censored - discussion of Mitch Tamblyn's sex life]. Congrats Mitch!
7) Italy has produced the Top 10 Magic players of all time. Olle Raade, Lawrence Creech, Antoine Ruel, Greg Rosebeary, Darwin Mess, Papa John, Brian Weissman, Cotton Ball Ears, No-Butt, and the ever popular Massimo Esposito (who didn't get to display his full Magic talent because he is serving a lifetime ban for assaulting a judge).
8) Friends is the most popular show in Italy, on virtually every channel at some point during the day.
9) Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
We tried to find a McDonald's before the start of day two, because we were pretty sick of Pizza. We actually were fortunate enough to find one, I had an extra large pizza meal.
7:01 AM - September 9th 2005 - [Censored - Lots of cursing]
I was on a roll, I was in the zone. I was like Jordan vs. the Jazz. I was like Federer vs. Roddick. I was like Brock against a pizza, or Clegg against a potent cocktail of Vicodin and Xanax.
I was Zero Cool.
I had my headpiece on and I was hacking the Gibson. I was sending cookie monster viruses at it, the Plague was on my tail, and I was about to give it to Angelina Jolie, I was in the zone. I was writing like a madman, and this sh** was good.
Microsoft Word had an "internal" error, set me back three pages.
That was three days ago, now its time to start writing again. Now where was I?
Ah yes, Day 2. Day 2 was a cinch. Besides, This was blood for blood and by the gallon. These were the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days. And we were ready for war. There weren't many good teams, and we only needed a couple of wins to clinch the Top 4. I started the morning with a nice cup of coffee. Back when I was picking beans in Guatemala, we used to make fresh coffee, right off the trees I mean. That was good. This is sh** but, hey, I was at a Magic Tournament. We had a general plan for our decks, we hadn't done any practice, though. We faced some of fiercest teams in the world. From Zvi Mowshowitz and his band of misfits, to Chris Benafel, and his equally bad band of misfits. It really was a whirlwind of emotions. From excitement, to hunger, to angst, then to hunger again, and the extreme happiness, followed by more hunger. We quenched our hunger with a few afternoon Pizzas, but we were not guaranteed into the Top 4. We had to wait for a nail-biting decision on tiebreakers, but thought we had a good shot.
We made it into the Top 4, fourth... barely. Right until the very last second we were completely clueless about weather we had made the cut or not. When the head judge, Gjorn Von Barkensteinervols was walking past us to post the standings, he looked directly at us and said, "You filthy Teabaggers." By this time, the true meaning, had spread throughout the tournament site, but this simple acknowledgment of a great team name was a signal to us that we had indeed broken the barrier into the finals.
Since we were last in the final four, we were going to have to play against Alex Shvartsman, Zvi Mowshowitz and Mike Pustilnik; The Illuminaughty.
Shvartsman provided huge amounts of information for the KGB. He was ultimately released from active duty because, instead of obtaining information on the United States tactical nuclear weapons systems, he was sending them spoilers for upcoming sets and DCI foil counterspells. Don't let this fool you, though, he was a black belt in Feng Shui, a master of disguise, and a true master of the five-finger palm death grip. With this assignment, the closest thing he could do with a deathgrip was pay two Black mana to counter a Green spell.
I was forced to play against Alex, in a deathmatch. It was jarring playing against someone who's hands were registered as lethal weapons. I took total control, (having broken his Communist code earlier), and won the match in a convincing manor. After the victory, I quickly shook his hand and scampered off. I could feel his eyes burning a hole in my back as I essentially ran to the Women's room with my tail in-between my legs (if you didn't know, I was born with a defect, a small tail). To this day I am wanted by the KGB. I have thought about a restraining order, but that wouldn't deter the fleet footed and untraceable communist's bloodlust. I thought about entering myself in the Devout Witness Protection program, but I am enchanted with running from their power. So far, so good, but I have to constantly keep my head up, and ear to the ground, because I know he is still bitter about this loss. Brock won, but Dan, [censored - drugs], lost.
In the finals, we were paired against our friends, but ever dangerous ABU team. They were out for blood, having won numerous Grand Prix and even a Masters tournament in the past. Add the "sleight of hand" tricks that they used, a victory and championship for our rag-tag group of jokers seemed impossible. The match started out with Fuller offering to flip a coin to see which one of our squadrons would get to choose drafting order. As soon as he flipped, I noticed something funny about the coin - it was double-sided. After we caught this, he offered to play rock-paper-scissors to choose, which was fine with us because Clegg is ranked in the top 100 of pro Ro Sham Bo. He learned this skill from Hattori Hanzo, the consensus number one player of all time. When Clegg unleashed Rock, a surprise to all, Fuller was caught red handed with scissors. In our celebration, one of his fingers disappeared, and he claimed he had unleashed Match, which, when combined with lighter fluid, could light Rock on fire. The judge approved, and our disadvantage grew.
Something funny happened, however. The whole match, the Alpha Beta Unlimited crew (who were named after a fraternity they were all brothers in), were arguing amongst themselves. And it wasn't about the draft or anything Magic. They were talking about world issues, like our conflict with Saddam in Iraq, the Nasdaq stock exchange, Mario Puzo's Godfather 3, the Bering Sea, the best way to skin a cat (apparently there are numerous ways), and the Diamond Mines in Africa and their morality (most of the worlds Diamonds are mined in Africa illegally, and are called "Blood Diamonds" because of the amount of blood that is shed in the process of mining them). They received a warning, even though most of the crowd was captivated by their brilliance and knowledge of world affairs. However, their warning might have also been due to the fact that they were cheating during the draft by speaking out loud and telling each other what to pick.
As the draft finished, it was clear we would be champions, as long as Dan didn't have one of his "blackout periods." You see, Dan [censored - you guessed it]. Dan I have a message for you:
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f***ing big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of f***ing fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f*** you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f***ing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f***ed up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.
Get off the junk.
I was paired against Ryan Fuller, it was like the Emperor facing Darth Vader.
Fuller and I were in game three, and my deck was sub-par. He had been using Jedi Mind Tricks the whole match, and I can honestly say in my young career that he had me out thought. I was sure he was cheating, his silent smirk told a tale that I had already knew. This time I couldn't bring myself to tell him to shut up. Sure he's an *sshole... Sure he was almost dead... Sure I'm just imagining that he's talking. None of that stops the bastard from being absolutely right. I don't have a chance in hell of beating this scumbag. Not with this heap. The only question left is whether I'm gonna kill him or not. Tough call. For all I know, he's an honest player, regular guy. Working stiff with a mortgage, a wife and a pile of kids. My hand moves all on its own, sliding one of my lifecounters into my lap and thumbing back the lifepad. I don't know what to do...
Next thing I knew his Green monsters smashed through me like nothing I had ever felt before.
Clegg won quickly because his opponent was manascrewed, but Brock had to outplay Benafel. He completely tooled him and made him look like a rookie, fresh out of triple A.
As we arrive in the third game I'm on the verge of tears as I'm certain Brock won't win the match. But he does; relief washes over me in an awesome wave.
John Brock Parker. You're an angel. You're a saint. You're Mother Teresa. You're Elvis. You're God.
The trophy ceremony was unsatisfying. I got a check for 3 million Lira (no jokes, I was paid with a foreign useless uncashable check at the time of the win), and the tourney didn't do anything for my reputation other than having a cool team name. It took me weeks to cash that damned funny money, and I also had to accept a terrible exchange rate. I should have taken this as a sign of what was to come. I could have quit Magic right there, gone back to college on my full Baseball scholarship, and probably have made my way to some cushy job right about now. Or, I could make the intelligent decision that I did, and that is travel around the world for the next three years having marginal success at Magic, which would eventually lead to poker.
Now don't get me wrong, I love playing Magic, it revs my engine. It would be great to just play for fun against friends every now and then, but once you break that barrier to serious, Pro Tour Magic, not only can you never play a "fun" game again, but every single point of damage is like being stabbed with a knife that is tipped with vinegar. Also, stay away from those Everquest type games. I have been fortunate enough to not get involved in them, but I have heard they are a real killer on your social life (Kibler).
Also, remember that awkward feeling, when a stranger asks you why you are on a flight to Zimbabwe, or when your mother's friend is over and is seeing you playtesting with your buddy. "It's uhm... like.. poker... and uhh...chess... but with cards... and like... fantasy stuff." "Oh, Dungeons and Dragons!" is the response you will usually get.
Kids, as I say this, knowing it will be my last communication to the Magic world I loved so greatly. All of the following are completely true statements and opinions, this is not satire at all. I truly was a great player for some period of time, I was considered by some, and myself, to be one of the best players for about a six-month span, in which my tournament results were stellar. However, most of my career was considered marginal, I would make money here and there, but nothing serious. The one thing I did try to do, unlike almost any other person, was to try to turn Magic into a spectator sport. Believe me, there is nothing more boring than watching fat dorks put cards onto a table.
I f***ed a lot of people during my career, on splits, on concessions, but one thing I never did was cheat. I made a lot of enemies in my time, mostly just so I could gain popularity by insulting their awkward physiques, or cotton-ball ears. This was all an obvious act by me that apparently the community was not smart enough to catch on to. I am a great self-promoter, and I basically made myself very popular by doing nothing but acting flashy. I also made a lot of great friends, some who I will be friends with forever, and some who I casually chat with from time to time.
Overall, I would say it was one hell of a ride. Magic brought me fame (to some degree), money (to some degree), a chance to see virtually the whole world, but most importantly a ton of great friends who I would never have met otherwise. I cherish these friendships, and I will until the day I die. To all those I love, and all those who love me, you know who you are, and I thank you for being there for me, and I hope you will continue to be there for me the rest of my life.
Sorry boys, all the stitches in the world can't sew me together again. Lay down... lay down. Gonna stretch me out in the Szigeti funeral home on Wala and Vista street. Always knew I'd make a stop there, but a lot later than a whole gang of people thought... Last of the Moh-Gicians... well maybe not the last. Magic's gonna be a good game... New improved Peter Szigeti... Sorry baby, I tried the best I could, honest... Can't come with me on this trip, Loaf. Getting the shakes now, last call for drinks, bars closing down... Sun's out, where are we going for breakfast? Don't wanna go far. Rough night, tired baby... Tired...
Momma always said Magic is like a box of chocolates...
I hate chocolate...
Peter "PTR" Szigeti