I remember the first Grand Prix Las Vegas.
I remember sweating over my cover letter, trying to strike the right balance of detail and brevity.
I remember being incredibly excited when I was accepted for the GP, and then equally apprehensive leading up to it.
I remember having Nicholas Sabin as my team lead for Saturday of the main event. I remember his calm guidance and steady leadership. I remember Nicholas encouraging us to high-five each other on the event floor, and I remember realizing that judging doesn’t have to be super serious all the time. I remember Nicholas calling me Bearz, and thinking that I liked it.
I remember Uncle Scott playing in the event, while his fellow L5s Toby and Lems were two of the head judges. I remember folks joking it was a good thing Riccardo wasn’t in Vegas, so that at least one L5 would survive in case of a natural disaster.
I remember a whirl of activity across Saturday and Sunday. I remember focusing on my own corner of the tournament and my own specific tasks, while the rest of the event and the players swirled around me, visible yet oddly invisible at the same time, a massive enterprise that was impossible to take in all at once.
I remember my family visiting the Grand Prix, and how happy I was to show them what a GP was like, to share a glimpse into this part of my life.
I don’t remember the end of the event.
I remember drafting Thallids at the judge draft after the event, while DLI opened a Tarmogoyf across from me.
I remember Cirque de Soleil, the casinos and hotels on the Strip, the buffets, the bright lights, and everything that makes Vegas so memorable.
I remember the energy, the enthusiasm, the pride in a job well done.
I remember wondering when I — when we — could do it again.
And the answer to that question is this weekend.
We’re not just doing it again: we’re doing it bigger, better, and with more preparation than ever before. A lot has changed in the two years since the first Vegas, but at least one thing has stayed the same: I’m incredibly excited to help put on the best event we possibly can.