When I got home from PT: New York, I started packing. Awaking after getting in late on Sunday night, I could only think with wonderment about Kai Budde and the amazing things he’d done over the last year. A win in each of the three rated formats in Magic over one season went beyond anyone’s dreams a year ago… But now it was a reality. After a day of errands and getting ready to move to London on Wednesday, I went to bed, prepared to write a Wise Words about New York and Teams Limited. Now the world I went to bed in is gone.
I awoke on the morning of Tuesday September 11th around 10 a.m., and as per usual headed to my basement to check my e-mail and any IRC messages that were sent in my sleep. I glanced at my home page, went to Mindripper, Meridian Magic, and Star City and then proceeded to take my first look at IRC. In looking at my team channel, I saw this:
<Zvi> Two planes just crashed into the world trade center.
…and the innocent existence I lived in was no more. My initial reaction was that Zvi was making a joke in poor taste, but I realized that just wasn’t his style. I went on to #mtgwacky and asked what was going on. Usually the source of merriment and hijinx, there was no comfort in wacky: they told me it was true and I turned on CNN to see the World Trade Center crumble before my eyes.
For sixteen hours now I’ve been glued to the IRC and my television, consuming everything I can about this, the darkest day the world has seen in my lifetime. I rescheduled my flight for next Tuesday, but who knows now if I’ll be going even then? I called my mother and comforted her as she cried about the son of a friend who worked in the World Trade Center, then spoke to her again when she found out he was all right. People are calling this the second Pearl Harbor, but that does injustice to this event: Pearl Harbor came in a time of war and in its own strange way provided security, since those events were still thousands of miles away. September eleventh is a day that will be remembered as the day they got to freedom from the inside.
Two days ago I was in New York. I was with Magic players I call friends and Magic players who don’t quite make that grade – but where that one distinction was once important, it isn’t any more. Randy Buehler did a great job covering my match with Ryan Fuller and made it pretty obvious that Ryan and I (put subtly) don’t get along. Now, with the way I’m feeling, if I were to see Ryan in the street, I’d put my insecurities aside and give him a hug, just happy that someone that I know was capable of bringing me to the height of the human emotional scale was okay.
Through the day, I became worried about missing friends: Mike Flores, with who I’d had a great dinner on Saturday night. Patrick Mello, who lived in my home for nineteen days before and during Worlds. Marco Blume, a buddy who I’d missed for a long time who’d finally found success. I found out that Lan D Ho, Ken Ho, and Dan Clegg decided to leave LaGuardia around 7 a.m. Tuesday instead of Newark, that Chris Pikula was amongst the thousands running amidst the ash of downtown New York, and that people like Alex Shvartsman, Victor Van der Broek, and Rune Horvik, for whose lives I was forced to worry, were still all right. Thank God.
Now I wait. Now, there are no more jokes about George Bush; only the knowledge that he’ll lead the free world in this time of crisis and do it with a cold, efficient fist. I sit here hoping for the swift and harsh punishment of our aggressors, the well-being of all others, and especially that of those players still in New York. I feel like I’m doing something wrong in hoping for the well-being of those I know over those I don’t – but I know that it isn’t wrong, isn’t selfish. It’s just my way of hoping that on some personal level, everything’s going to be all right.
Over the coming days, I urge you to do what you can. Get to your local blood clinics and give if you’re able. Phone your loved ones in New York and don’t worry about the long distance charge. E-mail everyone you know; damn the terrorists and scream to high hell if you need to. We’ll get through this as long as each of us gets through this. It’s your responsibility to make sure you do.
So skip work if you need to. If you’re afraid, don’t be ashamed, we all are. Spit when you hear the names of those responsible, give money to those who need it and pray the thousands who have died are in a better place now, a place where things like this don’t happen.
Magic will go on. As we uncover the names of those players who have been injured – or God forbid, killed – we’ll mourn them and remember them for the good they’ve done in the world. But right now isn’t the time for play: it’s the time for silence, and prayer, and hope. You can play Magic next week: For now, go watch CNN.