Cassius Marsh used the penultimate evening of the year to play a game he loves, and it didn't involve a football.
The Seahawks' third-year defensive end spent Friday night at Mox Boarding House playing Magic: The Gathering, a popular trading card game made by Renton-headquarterd Wizards of the Coast.
The Bellevue-based restaurant and game store typically hosts weekly Magic tournaments, but with Marsh in attendance, this week's event featured a special twist. Tournament-goers were treated to a meet-and-greet and signing session with Marsh, while more than $2,000 in Magic product were available as prizes. But perhaps most importantly, the event was for charity, and it brought in $9,000 for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program of Puget Sound, which aims to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better.
"It was cool to just bring the community together, bring 12s together, the Magic community, and just have a fun night," Marsh said Saturday at Virginia Mason Athletic Center before the Seahawks' departed for their regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers. "I got a lot of great feedback from people, they all seem really excited about the event. The owners at Mox Boarding House were awesome, they really enjoyed it. Magic was there, the Seahawks represented, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, so it was a cool thing."
The sold-out competition came together nearly two months after Marsh shared on Twitter that his Magic collection had been stolen, prompting the local gaming community to rally around him, and motivating a visit from Wizards to the Seahawks' training facility, where Wizards delivered a care package to Marsh to help him rebuild his lost collection.
"We were struck by how the community came together to support a fellow Magic player, and knew that we were in a position to help pay that forward," said Lyla Ross, ENGAGE's Program Manager who helped organize the store's first-ever charity Magic tournament. "We are lucky to have the support of the MTG community and the Seattle '12s' to make this a successful fundraiser."
At Friday's charity event, Magic reps were on hand to compete alongside Marsh and the general public in the tournament, with Wizards also donating $5,000 to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Puget Sound. Even one of Marsh's teammates made an unexpected visit, as wide receiver Doug Baldwin showed up and faced off against Marsh in a game of Magic on the event's featured table, which was streamed live online for all to see.
"I'm not up to the standards of which he plays yet, so I'm getting there," Baldwin said of Marsh's Magic prowess. "He's teaching me all the ins and outs, the intricacies. But he knows I hate his deck."
And while Marsh would still love to have his stolen Magic collection returned, he sees the unfortunate circumstance as an opportunity to continue to bring the Seahawks and *Magic *communities closer together, and bring even more awareness to charitable programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
"I think it's awesome, man. I think it's definitely kickstarted something," said Marsh, a California native. "With that one event I think that we'll continue to do that with card shops all within the area and hopefully I'll be able to bring that back to Cali and do some stuff like that. But I definitely feel like it was a blessing in disguise."
Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh played 'Magic: The Gathering' for charity on Friday, December 30 at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue, where all proceeds from the night's event went to benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Puget Sound.