Anyone who's spent time teaching kids in the urban core will tell you that you have to make sacrifices if you want to help. For some, that means giving up personal time or accepting a low salary. But for Adam Clark, the price was even higher.
Clark publicly and irrevocably outed himself today as a Magic: The Gathering fan.
Clark, a middle school art teacher in KCK, admitted that he was a grown man who fantasized about being a powerful wizard because it would help kids. And for that, we cannot mock this brave, impenitent manchild.
Clark sent in his story -- which will remain accessible forever to anyone who can use Google -- to the Gathering Magic Web site as an entry in a contest to see who deserved free Magic cards.
"I work as an art teacher at an urban middle school in Kansas City, KS. I have a group of students that stay after school every Thursday to play magic. When making purchases for myself, all the extras go to them as they cannot afford decks/boosters themselves. Magic is a great resource to help with their reasoning/problem solving skills. We would appreciate the cards to teach them the basics of a sealed tournament. The cards would be added to our library for the kids to use."
What woman would have him now?
Clark won, and his public humiliation now benefits the students who will use the cards, and are still of appropriate age to protect their innocence against the harsh realities of life within a world of Garruks and Planeswalkers.
"Math, vocab, and creativity are the benefits that come to mind," Clark told Gathering Magic. "Basic math skills like addition and subtraction. You can't do upper level math without knowing the basics. Things like fractions and probability when it comes to your deck and chance of drawing cards. Keywords/Mechanics are great for definitions and expanding their word base. Flavor text and strategy along with problem solving skills offer outlets for creativity."
Desperately trying to justify their obsessions, Magic fans will tell you that the card game was created by a Richard Garfield, a mathematics professor at Whitman college, who also happens to have Ph. D. in combinatorial mathematics from Penn.
Years from now, when his students are grown, we can only hope they remember to visit the probably lonely teacher who once ruined his life for their benefit. When he asks you if you wouldn't love to play one more game for old time's sake, smile, and pretend for him.