Charlotte regionals disqualification
Hey everyone I know you all have a lot of questions about everything that happened this weekend and I’m sorry I couldn’t inform you all on what went down sooner. I have put a lot of thought and caution into making this, it’s a topic I don’t take lightly and it’s not something that should just be messed about. With that being said here’s everything that happened that led the head judge to dq me from the regionals and escort me out of the venue.
It all started round 6, I was 5-0 and had just hit Alex Schemanske a very well known player as well as a very skilled player. With all this in mind I was obviously a bit nervous. Keep in mind, I’ve been on stream two times prior but it’s still always nerve racking being in front of so many people. I went to my table and saw alex and a judge standing there and the judge informed us that we were going to be playing on stream. I was excited of course and we started to walk over to the stream area. On our way over to the stream area the judge asked us for our preferred pronouns. I said “Um he or him or uh” and I paused trying to think of the third pronoun (the third pronoun being his). As I just stood there looking stupid trying to think of the third pronoun I felt embarrassed because I was failing to think of a simple word. Due to the nerves and me being embarrassed I let out a little laugh just a normal nervous laugh. My response together ended up being “Um he or him or uhhhh haha his”. That’s it. That’s all I said. Anyways after that we continued to walk and we reached the stream area. Just to clarify the judge asks once more “what are your guys’s preferred pronouns.” Alex says “He and him” and I then say “Uh yeah he and him haha”. The little laugh at the end was because I was trying not to be awkward and because I was just stating the exact thing Alex had just stated and it was kind of silly to me in that scenario. In this scenario I was also reminded of when I was on stream for top 8 of baltimore earlier in the season. When I was on stream no one asked for my pronouns so to be safe the commentators referred to me as they/them. My friends made fun of me sometimes for this just lighthearted jokes because it embarrassed me a bit because those weren’t my pronouns . To clarify I have ZERO issue with peoples pronouns and how they choose to identify and express themselves. I have NEVER had issues with it and NEVER will because at the end of the day it’s their choice and it doesn’t affect my life. As long as people are happy i’m happy. Keep this in mind when reading please. Back to the event, after Alex and I gave our response (for the second time), the judge looked at me and said “okay just wanted to check to be safe. I go by they/them so don’t be a jerk about it.” They smiled after this and gave no signs whatsoever of being upset or uncomfortable. When they said “don’t be a jerk about it” I thought they were just saying in general like in the future or something, I had no clue that I had upset them and I had no intention to do so whatsoever. I thought nothing of this because to me it was just a normal conversation that people have before going on stream. It was basically just like how san diego went before I went on stream. We go on the stage, get set up, fist pump and play game one. I brick most the game and end up scooping to save time. I felt very comfortable going into game two matchup wise and felt I had a very good chance at winning the match after seeing what Alex’s deck was made of. I say “i’ll go second” and we pick up and start shuffling for game 2. Then I see a few judges walking over to the stage and they get on stage and one starts talking to alex. Alex and I both extremely confused because we have no clue what’s happening. At first I thought he must’ve had a decklist error or something because the judge was only talking to him. They told me to keep my headphones on during this so I couldn’t hear what they were saying to Alex. Then one of the judges puts a headset on and asks me. “Makani, what was said to the judge when they asked for your pronouns?” This is where I began to get a bit worried and wondered if I had done something wrong. I answered the question and said “I said he/him”. The judge then asks me if there was anything else I said and they wanted to know what my tone was during the conversation. They said this very important that I answered this truthfully. I said the only possible thing I might’ve done that could’ve been taken the wrong way was when I laughed a bit and I told them that I was just nervous. The judge then told me to walk off the stage and talk off stage. I was still confused during this and even more confused when I see two more players walking on stage to take Alex and my spots. This has never happened before at least from what i’ve heard. I walk behind the curtains by the stage and the head judge (can’t remember his name I think it was Bobby) asks me what exactly was said. I explained what happened and that the nervous laugh was because I was embarrassed and because of what went down at baltimore. During this I was very polite and calm I made sure to clearly get my point across and made it extremely clear that I had no intention whatsoever of harming or upsetting anyone. I explained that I have absolutely nothing against peoples pronouns and I never have. There was no incentive I could’ve possibly had especially since I had just recently earned my invite why would I try to lose that? The head judge seemed to understand so I was a bit relieved but then he pulls out the rule book on his phone and says that due to me violating their inclusive policy and due to me making someone feel unsafe and uncomfortable, I was disqualified from the event. I was just in disbelief. I remember saying “Wait what?” I was so confused I had just explained very calmly what had happened and he seemed that he was listening. I was stunned I asked to sit down on a nearby chair to try and process what was going on. I still had a bit of hope left and said “is there any way I can appeal this?” and I again stated how I was really sorry if I upset someone and that I had zero malicious intent whatsoever and that I had nothing against peoples pronouns. At this point my message was very clear. I had no intention whatsoever to offend or hurt anyone and I was truly sorry if someone interpreted me wrong.
This is where it really escalated. The head judge tells me that he was sorry and that it sucked but I was disqualified due to pokemons policy. At this point I’m at the verge of tears but I tried my best to keep my composure. I just couldn’t understand what was happening. Was the judge just not listening to anything I had just told him? Was he trying to look at my side of the story at all? One last time I ask if I can appeal and if there’s anything I could do. I asked to talk to another judge or to the judge that I had upset but all of my requests were refused. The head judge then tells me that it was already done and they had disqualified me. I ask “So you’ve already disqualified me even though I just told you what happened?” and he said “Yes, I know this sucks for everyone involved and I’m sorry we have to do this.” I just start bawling my eyes out. I felt it was so unfair. I was EXTREMELY polite and calm through the entire thing and I felt I handled the situation very professionally and the judges had just not listened to me at all and disregarded everything I had said. In tears I say “you guys didn’t even listen to me at all.” I felt helpless and unheard and unbelievably upset. I told the head judge that I had just spent 800 dollars and took two flights to make it to this event and that I had missed school for this. I said this was my whole life and that I worked so hard to get to this point and that he had just taken it all away from me for no reason. He didn’t care at all. He once again said he was sorry but there was nothing he could do about it. I thought to myself “There is absolutely something you can do about this this is absolutely unjustified” however I didn’t say this because I was busy bawling my eyes out. I felt the judge showed no sympathy whatsoever and just said that the rules were the rules. The amount of frustration I felt and still feel is just insane. I have NEVER been treated so unbelievably unfairly and had such an opportunity just taken from me. For something I didn’t even do. The judge said that while he believed that I had no bad intentions, it didn’t matter because at the end of the day, someone was offended and upset. This is ridiculous to me, I was very sympathetic for the judge I had upset and never meant to upset them or anyone and all the head judge cared about was that someone was upset and I caused it. I told him that I was also upset and that he just ruined my entire trip and I wouldn’t get over this for a long time. To make the situation even worse they said I wasn’t allowed in the venue anymore which made me cry even more. I’ve never cried the way I cried that night. I told him that I didn’t even have service and I had no way to contact anyone and didn’t even have a key to my hotel room that I would’ve had to walk to. He told me not to worry and that he can call one of my friends over to help. I was so unbelievably frustrated upset and mad. Like did he think this made it all better? He just disqualified me and stole everything from me for something that he knew I never meant to do and now he thinks it’s all better? While i’m still crying the judge asks me to sign the match slip. I felt that he wasn’t even acknowledging me and that he was just happy the problem was dealt with. I had just told him that he had ruined so much for me and taken so much money and hard work and all he cared was that I signed the match slip. I said “give me a sec” because I was shattered and in tears crying like i’ve never cried before. Then a minute later he asks me “are you refusing to sign the match slip” making the situation even worse than it was somehow. I sign the match slip and keep crying. The head judge leaves and I haven’t talked to him since. I sat there for another good 10 minutes crying waiting for one of my friends to come and meet me.
This is a very personal topic for me but I’m going to go over it anyways because I need people to understand what I was going through. In the past years I had been extremely suicidal and depressed and after years of medication and therapy and working through it all I was finally starting to be better. I was stable and going to school and doing things on my own. Life was good. I hadn’t had suicidal thoughts in a while until this event. As I was sitting down crying my in disbelief I get up and say “I’m going to kill myself” and start walking away from the stage. A staff member who had been watching me (regans dad) followed me outside the venue and had to escort me until I was upstairs and sat down. I just sat there in shock and tears and he said he had to cut my wristband off. I was out of energy at this point and I raised my arm so he could cut my wristband. I sat down for a good 20 minutes until my friend I had called finished his round and came to see me. I told him everything that happened crying during the whole story and he consulted me. He gave me his phone in case I needed to call anyone and had to go back downstairs to play his round. For the next 30-45 minutes I sat there saying nothing shocked hurt and traumatized by everything. When I say I was close to running outside into the middle of the road I’m not joking. I do not mess about with this topic it is not something I take lightly WHATSOEVER. What i’m trying to say is that the way I was treated made me feel so upset and treated so unfairly that I was nearly running into the middle of the road and getting ran over. I wanted it all to be over I was just done with everything there was no point of anything for me. My dream of winning a regional with my own deck with my deck I had put so much time and work into, was just taken from me. I missed school I lost hundreds of dollars traveled across the country for what? Nothing, it was all for nothing. Im being completely honest with everyone when I say have never been this upset in my entire life. I never want to feel like this again. I think the judges overall handled the situation terribly and I was treated like garbage.
I’m sorry if I said anything that offended anyone but this my side of the story and what happened to me. I was very emotional typing this out so sorry if some of it doesn’t make too much sense and if I took things a bit too far with my suicidal thoughts.
Thank you everyone for supporting me, I’m going to submit a support ticket to tcpi and try and maybe get something out of this situation.
Love you all