Why Magic: the Gathering primed me to learn code in my mid twenties.

I never saw myself as logical. The main function of mathematics and its various incarnations in my life was to wreak havoc on my brain. The experience of writing proofs was similar to aluminum foil scraping against my tooth fillings. It wasn’t fun and with time I managed to make it through all of my classes, until my senior year, when I found it easier to pay someone else to do my homework.

My first job was as a 14 year-old student aid serving Honeybuns, BetterMaid Chips, Hot Pockets, Boiled Hotdogs and Red Hot Beef Burritos out of an unventilated enclosed space to hungry children. Freebasing Tina’s Burritos and staring into the microwave may have damaged my brain, preventing it from properly counting how many frozen burritos were served and balancing the cash box. Or perhaps it was because I didn’t perceive myself as capable, mathematical or logical. In reality self-actualization was only half the problem because the other half of me was usually involved in playing a game of Magic: the Gathering in between every transaction.

Math was largely disengaging and didn’t give a reward besides a paycheck. It wasn’t worthwhile work. MTG on the other hand combined logic, mathematics, and social psychology and always rewarded the player who was a better critical thinker. The ability to customize, build upon and experiment with your deck is also key to MTG and a pivotal life lesson when I had to learn code. Coding and building websites using HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP embrace the same elements Magic: the Gathering does, except perhaps social psychology, which lends itself to the visual design portion of the web.

Each website I build is custom, uses and reuses similar logic, but almost always presents a different set of challenges I must overcome. If someone told me when I was in my twenties that I was going to be developing and designing websites I would not have believed them. Yesterday, I asked myself, how in the world am I a successful web designer and how did I get into this profession in the first place?

Well, I am successful because of the skills MTG helped develop and reinforce at an early age (11-18). My background was initially in broadcasting and youth-development. Read about the Sunday Idiom here. Web Design enabled me to bypass radio and share my opinions about the music I loved. Also, a better understanding of design and code enabled me to present it exactly how I wanted. My advice is to do what you love, play Magic: the Gathering with your kids and that critical thinking is important in everything worth putting into the world.

 
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