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Hello again dice chuckers!

With my first PDC event this season in books and another on the horizon, which is the same case for many of you I'm sure, I wanted to take a little time to talk about sportsmanship. In particular, I want to talk to you about my sportsmanship and tell you how I am dealing with a really tough day.

For starters I want to mention the games I played, I played well and was able to recognize and learn from my mistakes. I also want to mention that I am not, I say again, I AM NOT trying to belittle anyone's achievement or ability.

Today, I missed the cut to Top 4 for our Store Championship. Let me tell you how this came about.

We had nine entries into today's PDC event. This gave us one bye per round of Swiss in what should have been four rounds of Swiss play. Instead our TO was a little concerned about the length of time the event might take and cut the Swiss to three rounds. Here is where the tricky part begins. Round 1 I made a critical error not buying a Prismatic Spray to use the next turn to guarantee success, instead I moved in a turn too soon and paid for it. I had also missed an earlier opportunity to KO a Wasp and instead just let myself bleed out a little....misplays lost me that game. Round 2 I had the bye....YAAA! Free win! Round 3 I handily waded into the victory, swinging big for the win. At this point, I finished the Swiss portion 2-1. I felt pretty good, had only lost one match and the game I played with a store employee over the bye round I easily won as well. So I'm doing all right. The major problem at this point.... there are FOUR other players at 2-1. Our TO, using the WizKids Event System called out the results of the three rounds of Swiss and BAM! Sweet! I'm in a 5-way tie for second!

Cut to Top 4....

I didn't make it.

What happened? There was no tie breaks. No life totals entered. Click of a button and my hard work and prep was reduced to a "thanks for coming out." Two of the five at 2-1 were cut randomly. Why do I say random? Because 3 of us had the EXACT same records. 1 loss, 1 bye, 1 win. DAMN!!!! NOW I'M MAD!!!! What just happened? How do I even comprehend this?

Wait. I'm a combat veteran. This is a game. I CAN deal with this. This is where our sportsmanship discussion begins.

I could have gathered my things and stormed out and believe me I thought about it. I could have soured the relationships I've built within my LGS and sat there, salty and bitter and spoke my mind. Instead I did what we all should do. I waited until the end of the tourney. I played a couple side games and talked MtG with some buddies while watching the finals. I did combat breathing exercises and reminded myself not to get too hot in the pants and it was just a game. I congratulated the winner (a friend I met through Dicemasters and who has been to my home to draft!) and I thanked the TO for putting on the PDC event.

Where I could have failed as a sportsman, I succeeded as a person. We all need to do this. There will be bad beats. There will be events we do all sorts of prep work for that we place terribly in. There will even be times when the look on your opponent's face as they extend the hand to shake makes you want to gouge out their eyes. Anger is fine and natural and we should accept that..... but we should never let it ruin the good things we have.

Shake your opponent's hand anyway, they fought a little harder or you made a critical error. Live and learn from it. Make the better play next time. Accept the loses with the same grace you acknowledge your victories. We can't win every game we play. The girl that won our event tonight, played her husband. The same guy she lost to in the Swiss rounds and who had beaten her the previous 9 games over the last 2 days! That's a 1-9 record with the 1 being the most important game she played, and he accepted it, congratulating her and being genuinely happy for her, despite having just lost. Above all, remember that there is a certain level of randomness within a dice rolling game. Sometimes those bad beats are the result of your far superior team falling short on dice rolls. Just plain bad luck can be a real thing. It's times like these that the character of your person shines through.

What can we do to be good sports? Start by maintaining a positive attitude. Whatever happens, happens and we can't always control it. Accept the things you cannot change and support the people around you, remember - they love this game too. Having a positive attitude will be infectious and will make the others in the area rethink their own anger at losing. Staying positive, even when you lose, will make the atmosphere so much better for everyone that people will want to come back and play again. Next, always be gracious, in victory or defeat. Don't complain about the bad beat or tell the other player how much better your team is than theirs. Instead shake their hand and wish them good luck in upcoming rounds. Conversely, don't be "that guy" who rubs every victory in their opponent's faces. Accept the platitudes and well wishes and continue concentrating on how you will play your games. Stay focused and don't gloat. Finally thank your TO. He / she worked hard to put on the event. Even if a ruling or organizational error ended up being the deciding factor within a match or for your standings within the event, know that your TO is only human and will likely make mistakes here and there. TOs put plenty of effort into our community and deserve our thanks, not our derision.

So basically what I'm saying is do your best to just be a good person. I know for me, today was trying at best. I even came home and vented to my wife. Most importantly though, I thanked the TO and stayed as positive as I could at the event and exercised good sportsmanship practices.

In the end what others players will remember isn't how well or poorly you did at the tournament. What they will remember is how you carried yourself and how you acted, win or lose.

I want to thank all the PDC organizers out there for running great events at all our LGS's. Without you, we would all be just sitting and waiting for something to happen. I also want to congratulate the current Store Champs from the completed PDC events and to those who are about to play upcoming events - Good Luck and Have fun!

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  1. Ressless's Avatar
    Interesting Post, i dont think people will so much remember what you do on only one evente, but over time you can form good relationships with this and build a great community.

    We had an identical second place for ASM draft with 6 people in 3 rounds. But it doesnt mattered to us since we just split whole pot of prices between all players. was great too.
  2. Qpublik's Avatar
    Great article.

    Just to add to this point: "Above all, remember that there is a certain level of randomness within a dice rolling game. Sometimes those bad beats are the result of your far superior team falling short on dice rolls. "

    The randomness of the dice will attract new players. This is the first collectable card game I have ever played. And I would never even dream of starting to play Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh! From what I hear, you are pretty much required to have the all the right cards to be at all competitive. But in DM, you can have a mildly competitive team and still stand a “punchers chance” at winning. The first time I played at my LGS I played the resident “champ” who has all the netdecks. I only had the Justice League starter and a few boosters, but was able to form a team that almost won against a LOI ring, Iceman and fatality deck. Knocked him down to 2 points, but just couldn’t finish him off. He congragulated me on building a good team. He was a bit suprised when I told him how few cards I had in my collection. I doubt that would happen in Magic if I spent around $25 total.