Oh, geez. The drama that is a family board game. The day started in such a wonderful way, with the boys cleaning their bedroom and the living room, spontaneously, just to vie for a chance to win video games back sometime before the end of the century. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration… They’re trying to earn them back before Christmas, and they made some huge strides yesterday cleaning the giant, toy infested playroom upstairs.) Ryan and I collectively decided that we would award the boys the ability to play a half hour of educational computer time each day. It wasn’t the goldmine of video game time they had been hoping for, but the fact remains that they launched undergarments at their babysitter in an effort to thwart bedtime, so… Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the time. They accepted their plea bargain despite it not living up to their expectations, and I enjoyed a clean living room.
After each of them spent their rationed out computer time, they were immediately bored. They both had their eyes set on the same Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle actions figures, and sadly, they couldn’t figure out how to share them. SO, after a while of being bored on their own, they decided to try to infect us with their boredom. After a long time of trying to get Ryan and I to entertain them… (I need to be clear here. I do play with them and enjoy a lot of time with them, but on occasions, they need to be responsible for entertaining themselves. This is a lesson they especially need to learn without using video games as a crutch for imagination.) I finally decided that it might be fun to play a game of SORRY!
Initially, Jake and Ben were very excited to play. They were excited until the precise moment I encouraged Ryan to play. Apparently, there is no reasonable way that these two boys can win a game a chance if their father is playing also, because he is unusually lucky, if I understand their thinking correctly. (And really… I do agree they are on to something there.) But, I wanted to play a family board game, so Ryan was invited despite the boys’ objections.
The game began as nearly every family game we play does… choosing colors. Ben chose blue (because it’s his favorite color), and Jake chose Green, because it was more masculine than red or yellow. I chose red, because it seemed to be closest to me, and Ryan was left with yellow. We dealt the cards face up, one at a time to each player going around until someone got the SORRY card, which entitled them to be the player with the first turn. Today, that player was Ben.
The game went as most games do. If you have not played SORRY, though it’s a complicated game. The basic idea is that you have four pawns which you need to get from the “start” spot on your board into the “home” on your board. The player who gets all their pawns to the “home” first, wins. You draw cards that allow you to do multiple types of movements, and the dynamics of the game can change very quickly with each card draw. Just as you think you are going to win, your opponent can draw a card which forces your pawn back into start where it will set uselessly until you draw the proper card to move it out again. There were multiple lead changes in the game. Jake played like a pro, and it’s obvious he has each option on every card and all the strategies memorized. Ben, on the other hand, just tried to knock down the opposing pawns anytime he landed near them and was excited to create physical obstacles with his feet on the board. Ryan and I policed the game to be sure he was not really interrupting the actual game play. Ultimately, Benjamin won, though Ryan would’ve won many times over, had Jake not been gunning for him.
What was surprising is the amount of tear shed my boys displayed today. Generally, Jake is a very good loser. If you are kind enough to play Monopoly with him, he will often attempt to pay your rents for you in effort to play longer. He reminds me of my Gma Rae, who often used to dole out “welfare” rounds when we’d play family card games for money. But today, Jake was determined he was a “loser”. He would have it no other way. In our board game, he and I were playing for the 3rd place title. He had multiple options to move forward, and had he used them, he probably would’ve beat me. However, he decided to be a spoil sport and actually sabotage his own efforts by choosing the worst possible decisions knowingly. Then, he sat around and cried and demonstrated with ninja turtles how he loses at ‘everything’.
Ben, on the other hand, was being a poor winner. He was insistent on proclaiming his awesomeness at the game of SORRY. I had to give him a little lecture about being a good winner and a good loser, and finally, he was forced to tell his brother he was sorry for gloating. (And it sounded SO cute to hear him say the word ‘gloating’, for some reason…) And, after a half hour or so of whining, Ryan and I finally blasted Beck’s song, ‘Loser’ to get Jake’s attention. It worked, actually.
So, all in all, the game was very much fun up until the very end. It was a fantastic opportunity to teach necessary skills, like recognizing “8”s for Ben and counting to 12, strategy and will power for Jake, but more importantly, it was a good chance to talk about sportsmanship. And, let’s not forget that we got to introduce some very cool sounds into Jake’s musical knowledge. Hopefully, today’s lesson will stick, and next time when we play, we won’t be so SORRY….