Young Calgarian boy uses his passion for gaming to organize competitions

Jared Waldon with 'Magic' cards

Ask any event organizer: running a tournament can be a difficult task.

Running one at age 14, however, is a feat few can attest to.

But Jared Waldon can, because despite his young age, he organizes first-rate gaming tournaments.

Waldon, a 14-year-old student at St. Margaret School, says he started playing “Magic: The Gathering” last year in September.

“Magic: The Gathering,” is a collectible card game introduced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. “Magic” is a collectible card game still going strong today, with an estimated six million players in over 70 countries. “Magic” can be played by two or more players each using a deck of printed cards.

Each game represents a battle between powerful wizards, known as “Planeswalkers” in the Magic universe. The cards are used to represent magical spells, items, and creatures that are used to defeat their opponents.

“I originally just started with my friend,” says Waldon. “I came into Revolution Games to buy ‘Pokémon’ cards and they were all out, so we just bought ‘Magic’ instead.

Jared Waldon

“I went to my first tournament, which was the ‘Scars of Mirrodin’ game day, and got third place with a deck I had made myself.”Jared Waldon, 14, runs his own ‘Magic’ tournament every Tuesday night at Revolution Games and Music.
Photo by: Danny Luong

Waldon started attending Friday Night Magic at Revolution Games and Music, nestled between 14th Street and Northmount Drive N.W., and says he’s only missed one night since.

“My inspiration for starting my own tournament started when I was here with two of my friends playing Magic at Revolution Games and Music,” says Waldon. “I wanted to do it more, because usually I only play on Fridays. I decided to start another night.”

“There’s a Tuesday night tournament over at the Sentry Box, but it’s too competitive. All the guys have $400 decks. I just thought it would be cool to bring one here and have it be a bit more casual.”

After being given the green light by Sandy Anderson, owner of Revolution Games and Music, Waldon let all of the staff know so they could help him spread the word.

“I think Friday Night ‘Magic’ wasn’t enough ‘Magic’ for Jared,” says Ben Herrel, 20, an employee at Revolution Music and Games. “He just wanted to play more and more.”

“I remember when he came in with his sign for Tuesday night ‘Magic’ and he was so excited to just tape it up,” recalls Herrel, with a grin on his face.

“Every time there’s another customer in the store and he’s in the store I try and say, ‘You should come to Tuesday night Magic.’ Jared runs over and says, ‘Hey, I run Tuesday night Magic!’ He’ll talk to the people and it’s nice because I don’t have to even do anything, and we get people coming to the store on Tuesdays,” Says Herrel

“Jared is always a pleasure to have around,” says Anderson. “He may be only 14 but he comes across as older in all the stuff that he does. I mean, he hosts a ‘Magic’ tournament and he’s very self assured for being 14.”

“Jared had approached us about being able to run something other than Friday Night Magic,” continues Anderson. “He’s extremely enthusiastic about Magic and all it ensues, and wanted to do a little bit more.”

Jared Waldon and Ben Herrel

Things weren’t all daisies and unicorns, though, when Waldon first started hosting his tournament. Jared Waldon, left, with Ben Herrel playing ‘Magic: the Gathering’ on a Tuesday night.
Photo by: Danny Luong

“The first Tuesday night ‘Magic’ we had five people,” says Waldon. “Then we started getting no people, but I wasn’t sad or disappointed.”

“I didn’t give up when I was by myself because I knew that it would pick up. There are tournaments hosted for Friday Night Magic every week and tons of people show up. I felt like it was just a matter of word of mouth,” says Waldon.

Within a couple of months, more people started coming and some regulars too. Kevin Chan, a student at the University of Calgary, comes every Tuesday.

Chan, 19, wanted to play more ‘Magic,’ and after hearing about Waldon’s tournament, he started showing up.

“I think the community is nice here,” Chan says. “Everybody plays well. It’s better than a lot of other places because people are not mean here.”

Waldon says he doesn’t like giving up on things, and credits his persistence to the success of his weekly tournament.

“I’ve met most of my friends through ‘Magic,’” says Waldon.

“The things I like most about ‘Magic’ is the social part, the deck building, having fun with others playing with the decks you’ve made.”

To find out more information about gaming tournaments and times visit their website.

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