Role: Event leadership, community development
Reflections from Jaap Brouwer:
A friend and I were demoing Magic in the local shop when a tall guy with a ponytail walked up to us and asked what we where doing.
After I gave him a brief introduction, I invited him to come over to our monthly tournament the next weekend and see some live Magic. That was in 1996.
This guy with a ponytail called himself ‘Gis.’ He ended up an enthusiast about the game itself and everything that had to do with tournaments. And he became one of my best friends.
We passed our level 2 (1997) and, some months later, our level 3 exams (1998) together. We ‘infected’ each other with passion and enthusiasm for the game.
We both had (and have) distinctive different approaches towards both the game and managing tournaments. Gis has a lot of fun playing and judging the game. He excels in putting a smile on his face when dealing with players. ‘They all came to play our favorite game and have fun with it, right?’ could have been something he said way back. He managed to keep this basic friendly approach even at the highest levels of tournament play as head judge for Pro Tours or Worlds while he was not afraid to enforce when necessary.
He also has a more ‘I will deal with it when it happens’ approach than the ‘let’s write a script with all details and possibilities’ approach. In the early days of the Grand Prix circuit this proved to be invaluable, and even in these times where more is formalized, it still has a great value. More tournaments than not have some twist that the staff didn’t see coming. Being able to handle whatever happens is very ‘Gis-ian’.
These two aspects are just two of the many aspects of Gis, but these two are special to me. Probably because we used to differ so much on these aspects, and he never ceases to radiate these aspects. The love for the game and the organizational aspects are still there, to the degree that he chose to work for Wizards, turning his hobby into his profession. You don’t see him that often at events any more, but whenever he’s there, he’s guaranteed to have a good time and have brilliant solutions for unexpected situations.