The absolute best part of every tournament like a YCS are the stories that you hear while talking to the various folks that made the trip to the respective city. In an effort to educate the rest of the world that might not believe the above statement without some further proof, may I present you with
The struggles of Marcel B.
Marcel B. is one of those guys that you’ll meet at almost every larger European event. He’s a cool dude to hang around with, a decent enough player (even though he has successfully managed to avoid having his picture taken for a Top 8 profile) and apparently a magnet for disaster.
His trip to Rimini started exactly the way it was supposed to; together with a couple of his friends, he was driving all the way from Germany to the Italian “city” (that’s actually just a random assortment of a venue that’s capable of holding a YCS in, a number of hotels, an even larger number of bars and a beach) where the tournament would be held in. They arrived a few days earlier so they could check out the beach in a little more detail, which is a decision they should be congratulated for – don’t travel thousands of kilometers if you can get a lot more out of it than “just” an enjoyable tournament.
Unfortunately, their preparation was somewhat lacking as they couldn’t come up with a better solution of securing their important belongings than “not giving a shit about them and leaving them lying around on the beach while swimming in the ocean”. That’s how he ended up losing his car keys, which basically marks the real start of this story and Marcel’s journey.
Marcel’s car served the double purpose of acting not only as a means of transportation, but also as his own personal safe for the rest of his belongings. That meant that once his car keys were gone, his supply of t-shirts, shorts and the like was also gone. In fact, when he first started telling me about this, he was standing in front of me with a “I love Rimini” t-shirt and some hideously “touristy” looking shorts. His rhetoric question: “Do you think those are my normal clothes?” was a joke in itself and it was impossible to further one-up him on the joke, so I bowed down and silently appreciated his comedic talent and timing.
Anyway, the story continued with him spending the weekend (that was originally supposed to serve as a means of entertainment by flopping a set number of cards on a table and defeating opponents in stunning fashion) trying to make sense of the situation and coming up with solutions. This involved lending iPhone chargers from the coverage team (I was happy to help) and making the necessary arrangements for his second set of car keys to arrive. Slightly less viable alternatives had been explored:
- ADAC, a German car club, offered to toe his car back to Germany for the bargain price of 7.000,- €
- Italian garages offered to replace the lock (you couldn’t simply break into the car and do it like those folks in the movies by connecting two cables as – despite its age – it came equipped with an anti-theft system that prevented this strategy), however, this would require them to spend another week in Rimini as they had to wait for the necessary parts to arrive
and quickly discarded for obvious reasons.
UPS did come to the rescue and for the relatively reasonable price of 50,- €, they promised to retrieve his second set of keys until Monday, the day they had to leave Rimini for Germany again.
Plot twist: UPS failed.
At this point, Marcel decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. To provide you with a little more context, which feels appropriate at this point, his car had a net worth of an estimated 500,- € as he got it (from his parents I presume) so he “could learn how to drive”.
Therefore, he made the excellent decision of breaking into his own car; he was by now running out of patience and there are only so many variations of “I love Rimini” t-shirts that he felt like wearing…
>>> I’m writing this article on a new app called “iA Writer Pro” that’s supposed to help you focus on your writing so you can have a more efficient workflow. It does so by taking up a lot of space on your desktop, not confusing you with formatting issues and so on. I came extremely close to missing my train stop just know, so I can attest that the program appears to be doing what it’s supposed to be doing. <<<
He made a deal with an Italian car dealer; they agreed that he would break the glass so he could open the door, clear out the car and afterwards, the car dealer would be free to do whatever he pleased with the car.
Marcel went searching for a stone, found something that seemed to fulfill the basic requirement of being heavy and large enough to break a car’s window, he gave it a good try and the stone crumbled into pieces.
The. Stone. Crumbled. Into. Pieces.
Please imagine for a moment that this whole thing is not a true story, but rather a movie. Could you have come up with a more ridiculous plot?!
Apparently his car wasn’t happy with the deal he had struck.
He turned to a store owner standing close by, asked him whether he had a hammer and – somewhat to his own surprise – the store owner handed him the tool. I got no idea how common it is in Rimini for random store owners to assist potential thieves with their crimes, but I wouldn’t exactly say that this is a big confidence booster to spend another weekend in Rimini.
Marcel broke the glass, returned the hammer and then received the 200,- € from the car dealer after he had finally and successfully collected his belongings. He told me that he’d use the money (together with some savings) to buy another car. Since he now knew “how to drive” (so in a way, the car had accomplished what it was supposed to do), I recommended that this time around, he should try to learn how to park a car…
The moral of the story: If you’re traveling abroad, it’s rather useful to have a Plan B (and C) in case you end up losing your car keys.
One of the best things about a Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG event is that no matter how many bad decisions you’ve made (which in turn will expose you to well-deserved derogatory comments from friends and foes alike), there will always be someone else present who’s having a streak of worse luck.
Marcel, for example, was “looking up” to Merlin S., a fellow who is truly deserving of his first name as what he pulled off seemed like pure magic. Merlin is somewhat notorious and famous for getting “deck pocketed” (the pickpockets he’s dealing with aren’t focusing on his wallet, they instead steal his cards). Where other duelists turn their backs on the game that is causing them so much pain, Merlin is using his frustration, turns it into motivation and energy, amasses a brand new collection…
… only to then have it stolen again.
So this very same Merlin, the “legend”, made the trip to Rimini and one evening, he decided to go “partying like a rock star”. It ended with him bathing naked in the ocean at 4 am (one version of this story involves 2 girls that were bathing together with him which does add some additional credibility to the partying like a rock star claim). He returned to the hotel without his clothes since they had been stolen just like his wallet and everything else he carried with him.
Instead of learning his lesson, Merlin continued and had his deck stolen at some point early into the weekend. Being the magician that he is, he talked a friend into lending him another deck.
Only to then lose this deck as well.
He. Lost. Two. Decks. In. One. Weekend.
Merlin returned to his friend who must either be a real lover of irony or an insane person. In any way, that very same friend decided to lend Merlin a second deck.
Fortunately, Merlin ended up winning a prize card as he was drawn for the random finals of the Public Events playoffs. So there was some sort of silver lining to this whole story. And while it might not be quite as entertaining as Marcel’s story (though that might have something to do with the way I presented it, so feel free to blame me), Marcel could at least travel home knowing that while he “only” lost around 500,- € (the worth of his car), Merlin was down a much larger amount.
Bonus Life Lesson
Before I let you off, know that people who spend their money doing interesting things are statistically much happier compared to people that use their income to acquire material things. So in a way, both Merlin and Marcel were doing everything right.
Instead of “investing” his money and making sure he would get the best possible deal for selling his car, Marcel went with some seemingly random Italian car dealer, broke into his own car and then gave it away. It’s a much more entertaining story to tell compared to: “I took great care of my car and sold it for 800,- € five years later.”
Merlin on the other hand didn’t feel like selling his collection to the highest bidder. Instead, he opted to not look after his bag and have some idiot steal every card he owned. For the second or third time. You’ll get a lot more laughs for sharing his story than telling your mates about that one guy you heard of the other day that collected a lot of valuable cards, only to then sell them for a really fair price.
Fortunately, we as humans are able to emphasize with other people, allowing us to “re-live” an experience without actually going through all of those steps ourselves. Therefore, we can all get a good chuckle or two out of reading these stories and we don’t have to drive to Rimini in a 500,- € car, swim drunken and naked in the Mediterranean Sea at 4 am and lose a bunch of cards and not learn anything because of it…
Special props to Marcel for sharing both stories with us on Monday morning.