Hello everyone, my name is Jeremy Tucker. I come from the small town of Seymour, CT. My "local" card shop is "Gaming ETC" in Stratford, CT. Although I've played the game since it's birth, I'm not a known name right now in the competitive Yugioh circuit, with limited funds and time. I may be known locally for other things, like blowing $100.00 at a time in the "Duel Terminals" (naively thinking it could result in a profit) or persistently using a "Fiend" deck. Enough about me, on to the article!
I cannot tell you how many games I've played. I can't say how many times I've beaten opponents that were so genuinely upset about the loss they actually resort to personal insult of me or even my deck. I've lost many duels against opponents that were so arrogant or cocky, they felt the need to rub my face in the loss, even if it wasn't directly. I would like to introduce a simple concept. To all of these people, yes, but also to every novice player and every pro. Play the game as you live your life.
What does this mean? Well, it's really simple, but goes to many levels. In life, when in school or at a job, or even just in general you should always treat your peers as your equals. I believe that when any one person starts to believe they are better than anyone else, and especially if they feel the need to make it known, problems are bound to arise, and fast. For example, lets say you're applying for a job. There is someone else in the room, and he is going to be applying right after you. You are both equally qualified. During your interview, you are slightly intimidated by the other applicant and feel the need to make your superiority known with comments like "I am obviously the best candidate for the job" or even resorting to making personal observations of the other applicant. When it comes time for the other applicant's interview, he remains calm. He allows his credentials do the talking and focuses on the matter at hand, opposed to making inflated claims to superiority. Which applicant do you think would get hired? My guess would be the one who remained modest yet professional. On a much greater scale, this logic even unfortunately applies to people committing hate crimes. It all branches from people believing they are better than others when that's just not the case.
In Yugioh, you should always treat your opponent as your equal. Never assume that you are better than another player, under any circumstance. This is how arrogance is born, and that's just bad sportsmanship. The truth is, you can never be certain of victory in this game. For example, lets say you are at a regionals event at your local card shop. You are using a top tier Plant deck, and have done very well so far. Your opponent sits across from you. She is a 9 year old girl. You think "I've got this one in the bag, I've been playing this game since before this little girl was born". She looks at you and says "Good luck!", You reply snidely with "Good luck to you too, you're going to need it". That comment alone is an indication that you are a better player, when you really have no way of knowing this. Your opponent then draws out their hand, and you proceed with your match. As it turns out, she was also using a Plant deck and beats you at your own game. In this situation, you assumed you were the better player based solely on outward appearance and paid for that with the loss, of both the game and probably some pride. These situations happen all the time, and the phrase(or card) "Just Desserts" comes to my mind every time.
In life, lets jump back to that same example from above. You just lost the job to the gentleman who maintained his composure and maturity. You make a split decision to handle things very poorly, and make a scene when the other applicant is hired on the spot. You begin making off-handed comments at the hiring manager, as though it was his fault, and even going to the point of insulting him. You turn your frustration to the man who was hired over you next, putting him down, even though it was your own attitude that lost you your chance at the job. This is not a mature way to handle things, under any circumstance. All you have successfully done here is make a fool of yourself(and likely gotten escorted out by security officers), because you believed yourself to be more qualified when in reality, you weren't. The proper thing to do here would have been to accept your mistakes and apologize, and go on with your life.
In Yugioh, lets again go back to that same situation. You just lost to the little girl in a mirror match, where you believe you should have won. Instead of being noble and offering the handshake, your inflated ego will not let it go. You call a judge and accuse the girl of cheating, because you believe there's no other way you could have possibly lost. After a deck check the judge grants her the win, and this just makes you even more angry. You tell the little girl that she didn't deserve to win and that she was a bad player, and you begin listing misplays, and you say she just got lucky. She actually starts to cry, and now what have you accomplished? You have made a fool of yourself and hurt someones feelings, all because you just couldn't accept that a "seemingly" bad player was a better player than you this time. The proper thing to do here would have been to tell her good job, and to look back to your own mistakes and evaluate how to improve. That is good sportsmanship.
When it all comes down to it, there are a million different life situations that can directly compare to situations in Yugioh, besides what I listed above, but it goes deeper than that. Be a good person, be a good player. Its that simple. You have to keep in mind that most opponents will not know who you are, and will judge you, as a player and a person, based on just a few short duels and the way you handle yourself. Make sure that during that short time, only your best comes through. There's no reason to boast and brag, even if you really are going to win. There's no reason to call all your friends over just to further embarrass your opponent with an epic victory. There's no reason to constantly criticize an opponent's plays or cards, especially non-constructively. There's no reason to be a sore loser. Once you lose, you lose. That's it. Coming up with excuses or putting down the one who beat you won't change anything.
More vaguely: Don't assume that you are better than anyone. It hurts others and eventually yourself. Always be aware of how your actions make others feel. Let your actions and plays speak for the person and duelist you are, and leave it at that. Instead of looking for flaws, compliment the good things. Offer the handshake. Handle yourself equally in all aspects of your life, and it will take you very far, as a person and a duelist. Thank you everyone, and good luck!