July 22nd, 2009
One of my favorite things as a kid was playing tetherball in the back yard of my Grandparents house. The tetherball itself has been changed out a number of times over the years, and it looks like it’s about due.
I enjoyed playing though when I was shorter it pained me to get beaten. Once I got to be one of the taller members of the Crawford family I liked it much better.
The Crawford homestead was always one where there were games being played — tetherball, basketball, whiffle ball, Risk, backgammon, Poker, Rummy, and more. When we lived close to or in San Diego I loved to play games there. Backgammon with my grandmother was a special favorite, as was Mao with my Uncle Jody.
Games are instructive because while the pretense is that they are a diversion, an entertainment, all the ones I have named are inherently social. It’s that aspect of games I find the most compelling aspect–mostly because it’s the part I least understand. I understand quite well how fun it is to roll double-sixes in backgammon, but what is the larger social component of that action while in the company of, and playing in opposition to, a family member or friend? I think perhaps there’s something in games that teaches us to be graceful in victory, and accept defeat with class–to accept that sometimes things don’t go our way. But also, that sometimes they do.
Hey, roll the dice, and move onward.