(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, And MtG?

On January 26th, 2017 Wizards of the Coast formally announced the list of teams for the Pro Tour Team series. After scrolling through the list of teams mentioned, it was noticed by many that there were no women on any of the teams. Numerous people were concerned, disappointed, and mad about this and responded on social media in a variety of ways. One of the best voices we have in the Magic community, Mrs. Mulligan made a short video on Twitch expressing her feelings on the announcement and on gender whilst playing Magic: the Gathering. Jennifer emphasized one point that I agreed with: that gender should not come into play when people are playing Magic. Overall, I think that most people playing this game want this to be the standard; however, for countless people playing this game, that is not the case. Women, men, and trans and non-binary folk responded to her video with concern, praise, and the sharing of their own stories regarding the gender imbalance that continues to be an issue within a game that can unite so many. Jennifer’s video, comments in response to her video, and articles posted by other prominent lady figures in Magic inspired me to tackle this subject and my perception of it and the response to her video. Before I get into my views on the subject, I’d like to start by going back in time to highlight significant shakeups in the last two years regarding women in Magic and then focus on some noteworthy lady voices creating content for the community to enjoy and contemplate on.

In April 2015 Gaby Spartz, a beloved streamer and competitive player from the Chicagoland area wrote an article for Channel Fireball entitled, ‘6 Things You Can Do To Get More Women Into Magic‘. She shared a list of things that players could do and not do to be more inclusive and welcoming to women attending events and encouraged the support of female role models. My friend and co-host of ‘The Girlfriend Bracket‘ Hallie Santo wrote, ‘Exile in Guyville: Thoughts on Women in Competitive Magic‘ for GatheringMagic in May 2015 about playing competitively as a woman in Magic. Two months later in June 2015, Meghan Wolff from the fabulous Magic: the Amaturing posted an article to Star City Games with the title, ‘Women in Magic: the Gathering‘. Her article generated a large discussion about the treatment of women while playing Magic and potential solutions to a continuing problem within the community. Wizards made a formal announcement in January 2016 that Gaby Spartz would be joining the video commentary team, Melissa DeTora would be doing coverage writing, and that Meghan Wolff would be joining the writing team. The following month, Maria Bartholdi (co-host of Magic: the Amaturing) became a Feature Match Spotter for Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, and Hallie Santo also joined Wizards as an event coverage writer in April 2016. While Wizards has their own reasons for these announcements, I am certain that they chose these women to represent them at this time because they knew they were talented, qualified, and vocal representations of women in Magic.

In addition to the aforementioned ladies, there are two excellent lady writers from ‘Hipsters of the Coast‘, Kate Donnelly and Jess Stirba, providing content for you to devour. If you have never heard of ‘Hipsters’, they are an excellent site that features many clever writers, including Kate and Jess. Within their articles you will find their personal experiences playing Magic and commentary on sexual harassment, equal rights and treatment for all, and the current state of our world. Last year Kate wrote an article, ‘The View From Here‘, highlighting the negative experiences she has had in Magic and her hope for a better future. Most recently Kate wrote two articles that I particular enjoyed, ‘Tired‘ and ‘Pro Tour Blues‘, detailing her frustrations as a lady Legacy player in a male dominated area and her feelings about a lack of female presentation on the Pro Tour Team Series. Jess Stirba is my go to for a perspective on the current state of our country in relation to a variety of issues and her thoughts on representation, sexual harassment, and the fight for equality for LGBTQ people. Two notable articles from her are, ‘Unexceptional and Unacceptable‘ and ‘Representation Dispels Lies‘.

In my experience as a player that once identified as female,  I can say that my experiences then and now after coming out as a non-binary person have been very positive while playing Magic: the Gathering. Discrimination based on gender has not been something prevalent for me and has not been pervasive at my local game store. I am fortunate in that regard; many women playing Magic have not had that auspicious of an experience and have faced a myriad of obstacles with many coming straight from their home base, a place that should be supportive to all players. Recently I appeared on the Magic with Zuby podcast and expressed that I feel the local level is why many women do not get into competitive Magic or excel to compete in a Grand Prix or play on the Pro Tour. I do understand that some women that play Magic do not want to be competitive and instead focus on playing Commander for fun or perhaps only enjoy pre-releases or drafts. Just like with any gender, we have different goals in mind when approaching Magic and the key for some women may be to simply have fun and not be focused on a competitive level for Magic, but still play with tenacity and a desire to win. Other womens’ goals may be Top 8ing a PPTQ, Top 8ing a Grand Prix, or grinding it out with the best of them to ultimately make it on the Pro Tour. To accomplish this, people need a stable, inclusive, and like-minded support system to grow from.

There are women who are outright dismissed at their local game store due to their gender, and not judged on their skill to join a team. Perhaps they are not invited to join in on testing with a group from their local game store for an upcoming PPTQ, SCG, or Grand Prix event because they are a woman and they don’t take her seriously. A woman attended an FNM at her local game store for the first time and had a negative experience. It was with both players and staff and she chose not to return. No other options were available within a reasonable driving distance in her area, so she sticks to Magic Online or simply does not play at all.

The aforementioned examples are real stories that I have heard from women who play or want to play Magic that did not have a stable, inclusive, and like-minded support system. Stories exist out there that are worse than these and paint a picture for what women players have experienced. Just because my experience has been positive, I know that I do not speak for all women or all non-binary people, nor do all the aforementioned ladies voices speak for all women. We are an ever evolving tapestry of players who are sharing our experiences and views, and our intention in doing so is not to diminish other peoples experiences. All of these experiences matter. Good and bad.

There were many people that disagreed with the video Jennifer made. I am going to highlight some areas where her message of positivity could have been lost to others whose experience is different, but also equally valuable. In Jennifer’s video she says, “You shouldn’t care if someone is a man or woman when you’re trying to decide what to think of them or how to interact with them. Basically, gender just doesn’t matter in these situations”. I agree that you shouldn’t care about gender in and of itself when sitting down to play against an opponent, but I try to look at this from another perspective. To me, gender DOES matter in these situations. Men SHOULD care about how they are going to interact with a woman opponent. Not because she is a delicate flower that will bend or break at any second, but to take a minute to mentally consider her previous experiences before engaging her in conversation and making remarks that could come out poorly (intentionally or not). Often men are told what they shouldn’t do when interacting with lady players; I want to encourage what they should consider when these situations arise. There are male opponents that might not be used to seeing a lady player because his experience has been one without women slinging spells. Comments that I love hearing are, “It’s really nice to see more women playing Magic” or “There is a really awesome showing of women at this Grand Prix”. Those are comments that are encouraging to hear because I think that some men do understand that for some women, getting out there can be difficult because of less understanding men. When I hear some men make the old assertion that a woman is there with her boyfriend or simply dragged along to the event, that is the opposite of what I and women want to hear.

Jennifer asks about the Pro Tour Team series, ‘Why is it even a factor to consider their gender?’ Gender shouldn’t be a factor in selecting a team mate for the team based on their skill, but overall the community wants to see representation on a grand scale. We as a community want to see women and trans and non-binary folk at the Pro Tour. We crave to see visible diversity because it is representative of who we are. I feel, as many do and as I have previously expressed, that a poor starting point at a local game store can stop many on their path to greatness in competitive Magic. Stopping bad behavior where it starts will be key to ensuring that more women have a chance. I fully understand that not all Magic players are that ‘good’ at Magic to begin with, but we have to be encouraging to those that are excelling, regardless of their gender. As a male player, DO be an ally for women in Magic. DO speak out at your local game store if you see that it is a toxic environment for lady players and trans and non-binary folk. DO encourage other men to do the same.

Overall, I feel Jennifer was trying to send a great message, and a valid one. A persistent discussion is important to ensure the continued growth of women in Magic in a positive manner. Even the opinions of those who disagree matter; we cannot grow together if we are unwilling to discuss the issue. Jennifer is encouraging focusing on treating all women like any other player that would sit down to play Magic. I hope that one day, it will be that simple; but I realize it currently is not. In my mind, I wish that we could all just get along within our Magic community and on a larger scale within our world. Change doesn’t happen overnight. One of my favorite judges, Riki Hayashi made a post on his blog on Friday entitled, ‘Changing the Culture‘. He addressed his treatment at local game stores and his feelings on local play. Riki also mentioned how he would like to see SCG formally address their stance on harassment and inclusivity for all at events to put others at ease while attending. I have always appreciated SCG and Pastimes for their attention to this matter and know I can expect any concerns to be dealt with. Melissa DeTora made a series of tweets which said, ‘ 20 yrs ago it was rare to see a woman at a game store, let alone on the PT. 10 yrs ago we saw about one woman per PT on average. 4 years ago we saw women make Top 8 of GPs and a Pro Tour. Today it’s common to see women at top tables of a GP. Things won’t change overnight but they will if we support women in MTG. Looking forward to seeing the next woman plat pro.’ Melissa’s statement on women in Magic resonated a lot with me as a player and as a content creator for a game that has given me so much. I know that I wouldn’t be creating content such as this post without a stable, inclusive, and like-minded support system including my local game store and fellow content creators across a variety of genders. We as a community are fortunate for the outspoken voices we have that understand that women in Magic continues to be an important issue. Without hearing from a variety of perspectives, we would not fully be able to grasp the past, present, and future of ladies in this game. The potential for women playing competitive Magic only continues to grow and I look forward to seeing the next lady at the Pro Tour giving it her all and showing all women what could await them in the future with allies and strong voices at their side.

Diversity in the Multiverse and the Positive Impact on Our Community

Diversity continues to be a hot topic with the Magic player base, and while it is a hot topic, it certainly is not a new one. Members of our community have hoped for and requested diversity in the game they adore and have started to receive appeasement slowly but surely. In the most recent Magic story set on ‘Kaladesh’, Yahenni from the card ‘Yahenni’s Expertise’ is a non-binary Aetherborn philanthropist who is put in a situation to save their own life by extreme means or die, later joining up with the renegades. Also from ‘Kaladesh’ is ‘Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter’, a lesbian woman who is an inventor that rebels against The Consulate after the death of her wife, ultimately assisting Nissa and Chandra Nalaar with their task on her plane. Prior to Oviya we welcomed, ‘Alesha, Who Smiles at Death’ into the multiverse with ‘Fate Reforged’. Her story revealed that she is a transgender woman who proclaims her chosen name proudly as one with her clan, owning her identity and her accomplishments. She points out to others the importance of knowing your identity, being true to yourself, and valuing your worth and talents. On the heels of ‘Fate Reforged’ was ‘Dragons of Tarkir’ which featured Narset as a Planeswalker who experienced sensory overload and found interactions with others taxing and difficult. Doug Beyer confirmed that being on the autism spectrum, neuro-atypical, or neurodivergent could accurately describe Narset. ‘Theros’ gave us the first and hopefully not last appearance of, ‘Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver’, a non-binary Planeswalker who uses fear to their advantage, having previously traveled many planes using their abilities on a voyage of self-discovery before ultimately settling on Theros. In, ‘Consipracy 2’, ‘Kaya, Ghost Assassin’ made her grand entrance and gave black women a smart, fearless, and resourceful representative.

The newest Commander set, Commander 2016, has brought with it, ‘Kyanios and Tiro of Meletis’ a gay interracial male couple who defeated the tyrant Agnomakhos on the plane of Theros. Initially they were feuding rivals who ultimately fell in love and fought together against tyranny. Their flavor text reads, “Look what we fought for. Look what we built together.” For me, this couple means so much to me in these times that we live in. I live in the United States and our recent presidential election brought out the best and the worst in people, and there is so much that could be accomplished if we worked together instead of tearing each other apart. If Kyanios and Tiro can make peace with each other, and with themselves, to band together against oppression, evil, and fear, we can as well. While Theros and the multiverse are fictional places, they can teach us so much about how to learn to be better and show us how to make our universe a more accepting place.

Not long ago, Huey Jensen came out and told our community that he is gay.  He stressed that it was so important for him to come out as a visible figure in the community because he recognized, like many of us do, that people in our society (even within our own microcosm) are being oppressed by people in power. We need to take that power back, and be true to ourselves and build with love and understanding instead of destroying with cutting words and poor actions. I believe that fully applies to how we treat each other at FNMs, GPs, and everywhere Magic is played.

While at SCG Columbus, I played adjacent from a player that did not understand my gender pronouns pin, which reads, “My pronouns are They/Them/Their. Example: They have a cool gender.” I explained to him that I was non-binary/gender fluid and that while I present predominately as female, that I do not use female pronouns. You never know how people may respond when you tell them these things, but I try and believe that most people are non-judgmental. After explaining to him what non-binary and gender fluid meant, he was fascinated and thanked me for educating him on the subject. The following week, one of the employees at my shop asked me how to appropriately address people who come in the store that may be non-binary. Back when I indentified as female, I asked my co-host of ‘The Girlfriend Bracket’ Erin Campbell what to do in these situations, and her suggestion was to ask someone how they identify or what their pronouns are; I imparted this same advice to our shop’s employee and they were grateful for the knowledge. These are the types of interactions I always hope to have. So far, I have not openly encountered any type of discrimination while playing Magic, even when I still indentified as female. It comforts me to know that my local community is supportive, but saddens me that not all MtG communities are.

While representation in a trading card game is not important to some players, to others it is everything. I believe I can speak for many players when I say that I had a difficult time when I was growing up and I was confused on where my place was in this world. In the town I grew up in, I was one of perhaps a handful of bi-racial children and I often felt very different due to my darker skin when my classmates were predominantly white. There were times throughout my formative years that I felt like I would never truly feel right anywhere. I remember my mother bought me an American Girl doll named Josefina and while I was not much for playing with dolls, I recall feeling happy that they had created a doll that looked like me and was representative to my heritage as a Mexican person. In this world there are people that are often marginalized, stereotyped, or unwanted within their own communities and a game like Magic, especially with a diverse cast of characters, can offer a much needed escape. Seeing characters that are gay or non-binary, people of color, or female gives us a place to fit in, a place to call home. We are strong and we belong. It is my hope that representation in the game I love will show other players our community is diverse and needs love, acceptance, and support.

Kriz’s ‘No Fear’ Challenge

Has there been a deck that has caused you stress or self-doubt about your MtG skills?

Amulet Titan is a deck that I said I would NEVER play because it seemed VERY complicated.

I am going to face my fear by building it and piloting it and I want to encourage fans of ‘The Girlfriend Bracket’ to join me in this endeavor by building your own decks to overcome.

How do I participate?

Build a deck for ANY constructed format and shoot me a deck report at: yotehkriz@gmail.com before the deadline about your experience with your deck. The challenge will run from: December 9th, 2016 – February 3rd, 2017.

Please answer these questions in your report:

  1. What is the deck you built?
  2. What about the deck intimidated you?
  3. What did you learn playing the deck?
  4. Do you still feel the deck is intimidating after piloting it?
  5. How do you feel after participating in this challenge?

Is there prize support?

I’m so glad you asked! YES! Just like any MtG related event I will have my ‘Top 8’ finalists at the end of the challenge. However, this will not be your typical Top 8. Instead of awarding the best performing participants, I will be looking at how you went about this challenge and the answers you provide to my questions.

Get to the prizes!

Settle down, fam! We’re getting there! Alright, the Top 8 participants will receive a care package from yours truly with some sweet goodies inside! I would say what, but it would ruin the surprise. Think of it like opening a pack of Magic cards, except I guarantee sweet pulls.

I hope we can all CRUSH this challenge and learn something about our deck, our MtG skills, and ourselves in the process. My motto when tackling MtG is, “Let’s see what we can do.”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, THAT’S WHAT MTG MEANS TO ME

When I think about how I view the Magic community, I see us as a convergence of individuals with different goals, different backgrounds, and different experiences enjoying a game that has enriched our lives in a myriad of ways. Our interactions with the game come from a variety of perspectives. We are comprised of players and judges, both operating at various levels of experience and within a diverse range of ages. Many of us started out as kitchen table players and have since graduated to participating in the SCG Tour and Grand Prix tournaments. There are times that I feel the respect level for opponents and judges goes down as our competitive nature increases and our own self-doubt sets in while piloting our decks to a hopeful victory. While taking pleasure in the game we love so much, I think it is important to consider our treatment of the people we interact with within our microcosm; from the newest of players to seasoned veterans of the game.

At events I try to be the player that exceeds expectations and helps someone feel like they have, ‘found their tribe’. I have had the pleasure of meeting some really talented people playing this game. Some of them have gained notoriety as players to be reckoned with in the area and others have won major tournaments. The important thing to remember is no matter how proficient we become slinging spells, we all started out as the new kid on the block.

On more than one occasion I have seen practiced spell-slingers be unkind to their fellow players and even judges; especially younger, budding, or returning players. Playing these opponents can be frustrating as more experienced players and somewhat time consuming, but our behavior toward them can make an impact on their future with Magic: the Gathering. We can also become less than enthused about a ruling from a judge call and act out of character to those who are only trying to help us. This is my personal plan for how I conduct myself at the tournaments I attend, and it works well for me:

  1. Assess the type of event and what the REL (Rules Enforcement Level) is. This sets the stage for interacting with my opponents and judges.
  2. Feel my opponent out by noticing their body language. If my opponent does not seem very talkative, I will let them decide when they want to communicate with me outside of the game, but present myself as friendly but focused.
  3. If they seem unsure of anything or seem new to the game, I will remind them that the judges are there to help, not to be intimidating. Younger players especially can be concerned about this if they have not played in many higher level events. I hope to be judging in the new future and I want to make sure that my opponents are aware that the judges are approachable and there to assist in ensuring the matches and events run smoothly.
  4.  Judges are the backbone of the tournaments that we play in. There are times that I feel that they are under appreciated or spoken to poorly by other competitors. I have witnessed rulings that were not very complicated and did not need to be escalated and others in which the Head Judge had to become involved. Without floor judges to assist us with our questions and concerns during tournaments, we would be lost. We should always speak to them courteously and respectfully, regardless whether we like their or the Head Judge’s final ruling.
  5. Make sure our lines of communication are open and clear. Communication and clarification with my opponent during the game is very important to me and I always want to make sure we are on the same page with life totals and both understand at what point actions are occurring.
  6. Show kindness and be helpful where I can while playing at a normal pace. I have seen and witnessed many older players talking down to younger players or not take them seriously. My friend used to bring his daughter to FNM at our old LGS and I remember the first time I was paired up against her. Her previous opponents had not been very friendly or helpful, treating her as if she were an easy win. I remember she was piloting Slivers and I helped her see she had many decisions she could potentially make before quickly making plays.  While some were not advantageous to me, I wanted her to know the options she had and may not have realized. Slivers were victorious over me out of 3 games and I will never forget the look on her face and her excitement when she ran up to her Dad to tell him that she had finally won a match. I did not help her beat me, nor did I take it easy on her by far, but I showed her kindness and helped out someone with less experience than myself.

Another example of this was at SCG Milwaukee this year. I was paired up against an opponent that was returning from a long sabbatical from the game and he was on G/R Ramp in the Standard Classic. At the time, I was piloting my U/R Artificer deck and looking for some sweet games. He ended up beating me out of 3 games and was super psyched about being able to mill me out with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. At the end of our match, he thanked me for being so nice and friendly toward him. This tournament was his first big event outside of playing at home with his friends and he wasn’t sure what to expect. We had an awesome time and I invited him to come down to my LGS since he lived in the area. It has been said that first impressions are everything and we should leave a lasting one on our opponents that makes me them want to walk the planes with us.

While I try and always be wary of how I speak to my opponents, I am not perfect, but I am always improving myself. Once I was playing Modern vs. an Affinity player at an SCG Open who was giving me a real throttling. I lost my cool momentarily and swore out loud, it was not directed at my opponent, but still could be heard by him. In that moment I changed our dynamic and I hope that my poor behavior hasn’t discouraged him in any way. There have been events where I have observed players treating their opponents less than favorably. This past weekend at a PPTQ I experienced two brothers playing each other in Top 8 and one of them swore when he lost and complained how his brother always beats him. The judge called him out on his swearing and he apologized, but then proceeded to go on and on about how his brother always has an out when they play and it has been that way for their 15 years of playing the game. This person appeared to be doing this in an effort to shame his brother into a concession, which unfortunately worked. Last month I watched a fellow competitor face two opponents who were super agitated and let their emotions get the better of them. It is hard sometimes to not take someone’s frustrations personally and I congratulate him for dealing with everything so calmly and professionally. Tilt is a real thing and whether a person means to inflict their internal torment on another player or not, we need to not take it out on the person who had just crushed us in a game of Magic. Our bad draws are not our opponents fault, and our lack of lands have nothing to do with them either. Variance is a potential enemy lurking within our decks, our community with who we explore this vast and massive multiverse should not be.

 

Back Table MVP or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love MtG

When I first encountered Magic: the Gathering on the floor at my grandmother’s house, wedged between my two cousins, I didn’t realize what an impact this card game was going to have on my life. Over the years, I dated men that played and frequently bought starter decks to reacquaint myself with the game, but would fall out of it due to other interests. Four years ago I decided to pursue Magic again because it always felt like that game that got away. After playing with friends at home, I slowly evolved to going to FNM weekly after the Gatecrash pre-release. Attending FNM on a weekly basis introduced me to an offshoot of my current social circle and offered me a variety of interesting people to hang out with. My Friday nights were filled with learning and fun and I started to absorb all I could about this amazing game. I also began to play against players that were more skilled than I was and asked for advice whenever possible. Magic welcomed me back with open arms and I have never looked back.

After SCG Milwaukee in April 2014, I felt an urge to play at a more competitive level. Around this time, I was winning at my local FNM on a regular basis with variations of U/W Control while the Return to Ravnica block was in Standard. I knew the contents of my deck and my matchups inside out and felt like I could pilot my deck in my sleep.

Rotation happened and everything fell apart –  I felt like I could no longer find a deck I loved, that I understood on an awesome level, and appealed to my play style. Piloting new decks could be amusing and interesting, but ultimately they didn’t deliver the same satisfaction that my old U/W Control lists did and I was losing constantly. I understand that some of my losses can be attributed to a new meta, new cards, new power curve, etc, I couldn’t help but let the losses tear at me. I doubted my ability as a player and began gauging my self-worth on how well I performed at tournaments. FNM began to feel less like a entertaining time with my friends and more like my weekly beat down. Grand Prix events and PTTQs left me angry and disappointed at myself. Why was I spending all this time and money to lose?

While participating in ‘The Girlfriend Bracket,’ there have been many episodes where we have addressed listener questions regarding tilting and losing. I am very thankful to have received those questions because they gave me a new sense of direction. With my new perspective I decided to let down my Magical guard and jump into a new role. I began channeling my frustrations with losing into brewing on a regular basis instead of net-decking. Some experiments worked and some failed miserably, but the majority of the time it felt personally satisfying knowing that I created something on my own and put a lot of myself into it. Brewing decks became my getaway from stress and my anxiety and allowed me to take notice of cards I had never considered playing with before. As the weeks went on, people at my LGS started to take notice of my ideas and rallied behind me. Having encouragement from my peers filled me with a strong burst of confidence whenever I would start to doubt myself again and I feel like it helped my plays become tighter and my composure with my decks showed.

My next step to dealing with the ebb and flow of winning was to figure out exactly what my Magic goals were and reevaluate my Magic attitude. For many people in competitive Magic, the chase of fame, monetary rewards and a future on the Pro Tour drive them to continue down a grinder’s path. I began to realize deep down inside I did not really want any of those. Magic was an escape for me from my personal and professional life and I didn’t want that to change. There are events when I have done super poorly and events where I have broken even or better. Variance is a part of this game and in some ways, I am thankful for it. Hanging out at the back tables has been a very rewarding experience and oddly has helped my Magic self-esteem more than I thought it could. Would I love to win it big someday? Of course, but it is not my goal when I go to events now. Instead, I have implemented a small list I hope to accomplish at every event, regardless of how I ultimately perform:

  1. Learn something new
  2. Make new friends and acquaintances
  3. Encourage people
  4. Play to the best of my ability
  5. Promote ‘The Girlfriend Bracket’ and other content creators in a positive effort to help others

Since I have adopted these changes, my attitude at events and my perception of them has changed dramatically. At each event, I now feel like I have gained something by attending; even if I didn’t win. When I am at those back tables, I am surrounded by so many talented and awesome people. Maybe that day wasn’t their day, but it doesn’t mean it never will be. Perhaps they don’t care if it ever comes as long as they get to play a game that they love. I am glad that I took the time to look inward about how I was feeling about a game that is supposed to be for enjoyment. The pressure I put on myself was far too much and I lost a lot of time and energy being angry and disappointed. There were a few times that I displaced my frustrations and took them out on my opponents, which I feel terrible about. Instead of living in the past, I will focus on the future and all of the sweet times that lay ahead. Someone on Twitter recently called me a grinder because of the amount of events I attend. At the time, I laughed and was like, ‘Yeah, right. That’ll never be me’. However, the more I think about it, it is true. My individual goals may be different than traditional grinders, but we are on the grind together; even if they are sitting many tables ahead of me.