Leon Henderson

Good to see you, judges! This week’s rock star is a force to be reckoned with because of his positive attitude and boundless energy. Congratulations to Lee Henderson!

Name: Leon Henderson III
Level: 2
Location: Bloomington, MN
Judge start date: September 4, 2014
Why did you become a judge? A friend pushed me into doing it because he thought I would be good at it. I guess he was right? (Hi, Andy!)
Occupation: Short Term Disability Examiner
Favourite card: Shaharzad
Least favourite card: Contamination
Favourite format: Commander/EDH
Commander General: Selvala, Explorer Returned
Favourite non-Magic Game: Destiny
Best tournament result: I went 4-0 at Shadows over Innistrad 2HG Midnight Prerelease with Renee Buhr
Random fact about yourself: I have a near-eidetic memory….for things that don’t matter.

Talk about your efforts maintaining a blog for your region.
So I have actually been lagging a bit on this recently due to life things. But it is actually surprisingly simple. I keep in contact with judges who want to write for the blog and I edit all of their articles and make sure they are stylized well. It isn’t hard by any stretch but it is time-consuming. I see why I got handed the job. I hope to getting back to posting more frequently now that life has calmed down slightly.

One of the things you are known for is being energetic and  optimistic. How do you keep an upbeat attitude with all the chaos of a tournament going on?
“There will always be paths to tread and methods to try, Roll with it.” In my life, I have dealt heavily with mental illness (depression, anxiety, and ADHD) and I have just found the best way to combat that is to keep the positivity up even in the bleakest of times. Support those around you unconditionally and just find the reason why it doesn’t suck. There always is a reason. Another key component is learning to embrace the chaos a bit and make it your own. My dad and I go bodysurfing at the beach a lot and you just gotta commit to the wave sometimes. It’s hard and you might wipe out, but you just gotta ride the wave.

Tell us your favourite judge story.
The event where I had Patrick Nelson as my Team Lead for sides day 2 of “GP” Cincy of 2016. We were swarmed and so many people came out to play. SCG put on a great event. I was having some mild trepidation about head judging a 60+ person side event on my own because of my past experience with events that large. Patrick stepped in and was a real pro about the whole thing. He reassured me and gave me the confidence to persevere.

How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
I was taught the game several times. Once in original Mirrodin by an old middle school buddy, once at the Skyrim midnight release. It finally stuck around New Phyrexia/Innistrad. Friend showed me mono blue delver/dagger/ stalker and I was hooked.

How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Well, I have met my significant other, Renee Buhr, through Magic. She attended GP indy in 2015 and made a joke that I found hilarious. Snap forward to SCG Louisville in February 2016 when I am getting to go to a movie (Deadpool) with Patrick, Trent Novak, and a bunch of other judges. She saw me in the rear view and immediately remembered who I was. We started talking after the event and I convinced her to come to GP Detroit in March. She met my mother and stepsister at that event and we started dating shortly thereafter. Still going strong after almost a year and a half!

What motivates you to continue being a judge?
The people. Seriously. I could list off any number of people who make me happy to be in this program but the people definitely are the big plus.

What is one tip you have for other judges?
You will make mistakes. Don’t make the biggest mistake and refuse to learn from them.

What has been your favourite Magic event that you’ve judged?
Much as the event will forever haunt me: an 84 person free Tournament to win a Beta Bayou. Filled in for a judge who was out of town, he figured around 50 people and we had a standby. 84 people showed for my first comp REL head judge as an L1. It was…..tough, to say the least.

What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?

I have next to no problem giving complete feedback to people. I pride myself on being able to give good feedback and make sure that people are reassured of their progress completely. I thank the judge program for that. Otherwise, confidence in dealing with groups of people. I found myself giving an appeal speech to someone the other day on the phone at work!

If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
George Orwell. I want to probe the mind of the man who wrote 1984 and show him how much it applies to today.

What is your favorite “after event” story?
After Gen Con 2016, Patrick Nelson, Alex Muhich, Renee Buhr and I all went to Yardhouse. I got the best tasting Moscow mule of my life and had vampire tacos (a cheese deep fried taco shell). We then went and saw Suicide Squad in exceedingly comfortable recliner seats. It was a perfect end to the weekend.

If you were a Planeswalker, what would be your ultimate?
You get an Emblem “Whenever a creature dies, put an anthem counter on this permanent. Creatures you control get +1/+1 for each anthem counter.”

If you were a creature, what would be your creature type?

What was the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Being upheld by Eric Levine at GP Vegas (3P Vegas). Eric has always been a role model of mine and I geeked out a bit when I got to work under him. I handled a rough call by a very unhappy player in the main event for sealed. I got snap (literally) appealed and went and got Eric. He interviewed the players and asked a few questions of them and me. He then said he would uphold my ruling. He later complimented my handling of the situation. Needless to say, I was on Cloud 9.

What are the areas you feel like you would most like to work on?
Accepting rejection and always being humble. I still take it hard when getting declined and I always make sure to keep my own hubris in check.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Hi, Mom and Dad (and Marie and Toney)!

Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!

  1. I certified with over 90% passing scores on each test.
  2. I have been skydiving, white water rafting and bungee jumping.
  3. My judge nickname is Tigger.
The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
Serge Yager does not, in fact, have his entire Magic collection double sleeved.

If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!

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