Since Chicago has a penchant for putting board games in bars, I have spent a few nights, with local brew in hand, playing games (literal games, not emotional ones– it’s not time for the metaphor yet).
While I love words, learning about their etymology and using them in their purest forms, I have never been very good at Scrabble. I complain about my tiles and am not above showing all of my letters to my opponent to get their suggestions. I talk about other things instead of concentrating on my turn and suggest good areas on the board to explore, where I really wanted to make something work but couldn’t. Finally, I spend way too long thinking about the “best” move. To most, the best move is the one that will earn them the most points. To me, the best move is the one that will result in a better, more interesting game– open up more of the board and create opportunities for longer words. In my Scrabble philosophy, no triple word score should go unused, even if not by me. I play with the future of the game in mind. I want the board to look nice and full and balanced when we’re done and I want everyone to have gotten out of it what they wanted.
See where I’m going with this?
Playing Scrabble in this way often leaves me falling behind. The last time I played in a bar with a friend, a good 50 or more points behind, I could feel a plaid-clad, mustachioed, bespectacled hipster with an ear-flap hat on looking over my shoulder as I was searching for my next move. He saw my best move of the game (the move worth the most points) through his Teddy Roosevelt glasses. I cannot for the life of me remember what the word was, but I remember that it was only two tiles strategically placed to earn me over 30 points. It was something I would have never seen– clearly, since I can’t even remember what it was. I was grateful for his help and I always welcome pleasant interactions with strangers, but I left my friend with the exact same possibilities that she had on her last turn and I felt badly about that.
I would like every move I make to open up opportunities for others; I want my moves to change the board.
Wait, we’re still talking about Scrabble, right?
photo credit: http://pocolit.wordpress.com