“Let me not do something stupid.”

Brian David-Marshall has interviewed Jon Finkel here on the Wizards site. In the wake of Jon’s first pro tour top eight (and a win at that!) since 2003 or so, Brian asks him about how he got into Magic in the first place, his early tournament experiences, and what it’s like to go back to competitive play after all this time.
I especially like the contrast between what he was actually thinking and doing and how the match coverage reporter spun it. I’ve experienced this dichotomy myself, after watching a friendly, fast-paced game between Saito and Olivier Ruell at GP San Francisco be portrayed in the coverage as “glacially” slow and “frosty” due to a supposed antagonism between the two players. The drama’s not really necessary — the game is interesting enough. Here’s Jon on that topic:
It was funny…I was reading the coverage and the guy was talking about me playing mind games with my opponent because I made him burn for one and asked him not to look at my deck while shuffling. This guy has ascribed this whole internal world to my mind that has no basis in reality. I had him burn for one because he had a mana in his pool and he said, “go.” He was at two, but if he was at 20 I would still have him burn for one. The way he was shuffling there was a chance that he could see the bottom card of my library…probably not, but don’t look down while you are shuffling.
I am not saying that in my lifetime I haven’t played mind games with people. I think I probably play less than many people. I certainly wasn’t there. What should I do? Go back and say, “Would you like to go back and untap one of your lands in the Top 8 of the Pro Tour? You don’t need to burn this time.”

The idea that I showed up for Prague not caring and that I had some renewed sense of urgency for this tournament is…it is a fun narrative maybe for people to tell. Although it is kind of annoying when people tell a narrative about your life and you are just like, “Man, could you have at least asked me?”
It’s a good interview. Jon seems nice and level-headed, and has a good grasp on the balance between skill and luck involved in winning a PT.