If you’ve been a loving parent of a young child just learning to play Candy Land, you know the quandary: do I let them win, do I stack the deck so that they will draw the double purple card, or do I teach them to lose well, you know in case they grow up to be a Dallas Cowboys fan or something.
That quagmire is even deeper and more daunting when you’re a grandparent and your mission in life is for your beautiful grandchildren to never, ever know loss, disappointment, heartache or failure of any kind.
My grandfathers were real men, not weepy, whiny, bleeding-heart liberals like me. I played checkers with my maternal grandfather. He was a well digger and used cuss words in normal conversation. I know he never intentionally, out of pity, sympathy or compassion or anything else, ever LET me win a game. I know this because I never won a single game of checkers against him.
The game of choice of my paternal grandfather was dominoes. The occasion of letting me win or not never arose because I was never allowed to play. Seats at the domino table was reserved for serious players who could count their own points, not put their partner in jeopardy and pretty well knew the dominoes in every players hand half way through the round.
Sometimes you wonder if maybe sometimes some Adults out there, including me, had too many people in our lives who LET them win a few times too many.
What about this? Wouldn’t it be nice if KD would come back “home” Saturday night and do something to sort of help his old team win one. I’m referring of course to the game this Saturday, between the OKC Thunder and the GS Warriors, and the first time Kevin Durant will return to OKC for a game since his midnight abandonment of us a few months back. I guess that would be a hollow win wouldn’t it. I tell you what I would really like to see, not that I’m a sore loser or anything, but I would love to see KD hold Draymond Green down while Steven Adams kicks him in that place where no man likes to be kicked. Of course the sweetest victory of all would be one where the Warriors (with the exception Green, of course) play one of their best games and still lose to our Thunder.
When it comes to playing checkers with Harper, I don’t actually LET her win, but I also don’t stand in the way of her being a bit creative with the game. For example, apparently in Harper’s version of the game, she can earn a third checker on her “kinged” pair. That makes for an omnipotent King that can pretty much move anywhere at anytime. You have to watch out for those omnipotent rulers. It’s hard to beat them no matter how well youplay.
Some wise person said, “When the game is over, all the pieces go back in the box.”
Or as my mother and the mothers of other frequent losers used to say: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts.”