December 22, 2014

A Good Sport

Luke and Jack are extremely competitive, especially Luke.  He's fairly gifted in the athletic department, thanks to Tim, not my clumsy self, so he tends to win quite a lot.  Besides sports, we love to play board games at our house too.  If Luke loses, he always wants to play another round until he ends on a win.  Sometimes I'm glad when he loses because it's a rare chance to practice losing gracefully.  Jack needs to win too, rather than crying or getting mad when he loses, he just walks off.  As in, eff this, I don't care, you clean up the pieces.  If he doesn't skulk off to pout, Jack knows the correct words to say when he loses.  The words tend to be robotic and clipped, his face pales and his body is stiff.

Jack:  "Good game Mom..."  (his hand extended in a stiff handshake and his mouth quivering)

Luke:  "Congratulations on winning Dad."  (holds back tears)

The lessons and teaching on good sportsmanship abound in the Pell Household.  Last year, when I was coaching the boys' Little League team, the league mentioned this cool phrase in reference to good sportsmanship.  Win with humility and lose with pride.  I love that.  I know it's easier said than done, but we talk a lot about what that means and what it looks like.  We haven't got it all figured out yet, but we've come a long way.

When Luke was a cute little five year old hockey player, he still had a lot to learn.  At that level, they didn't play with goalies.  Being coordinated to stay up on the skates, keep hold of the puck and actually shoot it into the goal is quite hard.  No need for goalies.  One team happened to have a hockey phenom and Luke's team was getting scored on more than usual.  From the stands, I could see Luke getting quite frustrated.  In the midst of already losing heavily, one sweet kid on his team got turned around, summoned some coordination and made a shot.  It was good, but it was on their own goal.  Luke was pissed.  He skated over and shoved his own teammate down and yelled at him.

I was horrified.  I marched over to the glass, fumbled with the heavy door, marched out and pulled him off the ice.  We had another lecture on the facets of good sportsmanship and supporting your own teammates.  Good grief, my kids are crazy!

This weekend, Luke was in the goal (they've graduated to having goalies now) and he was doing a great job.  For most of the time, he was blocking the pucks and the defenders on his team were doing a great job of helping the team out.  One of the shots made it through every player on his team, as some pucks tend to do, and I saw Luke saying something to his teammate.

I leaned over to Tim, "He's not yelling at him, is he?  I will walk out on the ice if I have to again."

Tim was vigilantly watching for the same thing, "No, I'm pretty sure he didn't.  I was looking for the same thing.  We'll ask after the game though, just to make sure."

Where do they even get this competitiveness?  Definitely not from me.  And someone has to be blamed in this situation so it has to be Tim.  That's it, it's all his fault.  He's always to blame for things like this.

I've been so excited for the boys to be old enough to play strategic board games.  I'm not talking about Monopoly or Candyland.  We're serious about our German-style board games.  Tim and I like to play them, so does our extended family.  We've even found a few kindred spirited friends who like to join us proudly in our nerdery.

Going into a "real" game shop is exciting.  It always has an underground feel.  Sometimes tables are set up in the back for Pokemon or Magic the Gathering tournaments.  The one in our town even displays and sells local art.  I'm surprised you don't need to know a secret password to get in.  Like the employees wouldn't help you unless you uttered, "The clock meows at the moon," under your breath.  In conclusion, games stores are amazing.  Of course, you can buy all these type of games on Amazon, but that's not nearly as fun.

I'm proud of our Euro Game snobbishness and have organized our game closet accordingly.  We have "games" on the left and "Games" on the right, see:

The boys still love Memory and Uno and Battleship but now they are learning some of the more complex ones.  We taught them Pirate's Cove last week.  They loved it.  These were some of the best lines from our inaugural play:

Jack:  I just went Bingo on my sails!  I'm fast now!

Me: Wow, Luke, your parrot just saved your booty."
Luke:  Hahahaha, yeah! Literately, ahahahaha, booty, ahahahaha!
(he means literally, but I think literately is cuter and there's no way I'm correcting him anytime soon)

Now you probably won't get these references if you haven't played the game.  That's just another reason we're cooler than you.  But if you really want to be on our level, just check out the local game store.  And don't forget to tell the front desk clerk that, "the watermelon blooms at midnight,"though and you'll be in.

On Friday night, we taught the boys Settlers of Catan.  This is a significant game because it was our intro into the world of strategic games.  I actually hate this game because we've played it a million times and I've never won.  It's one of those games that if you pick your beginning position wrong and/or the rolls of dice don't go in your favor, you're screwed.  You have no chance of a comeback and don't even think of getting your hopes up to win.  Now, I think of myself as being pretty smart in figuring out strategy and seeing the best logical plan of action but this game throws me for a loop. I hate it!

Even though I hate it, it's a fairly straight forward game and we thought the boys would catch on quickly.  We got all set up with snacks and drinks and settled into playing.  The boys were munching on candy canes, Hot Tamales and drinking Perrier.  Tim and I went for the more adult version of snacking and were enjoying wine and cheese.  I, of course, chose my strategy wrong.  None of the rolls provided me with the goods I needed to advance in the game.  To top it all off, Tim sent the robber over to my settlements and Luke blocked my road advancements with his own road.  I saw how this game was going to end - with me in dead last.  I started to pout and consoled myself with the fact that we picked up a pretty good pairing of Cabernet Sauvignon and a fancy sharp aged cheddar.  At least the food and drink weren't pitted against me.

Tim looked over at me and smirked, "What's wrong?"

"I hate this game!  I never ever win.  Right now, if I ever get anything, I only get coal.  I don't need anymore freaking coal.  I won't be able to build anymore roads, let along settlements or cities!!  You only need two more victory points to win.  I might as well give up right now.  There's no point in me playing anymore.  I hate this game.  It sucks."


Tim glances at the boys, then back to me and smirks.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh," I said.  I get it now.  "That's where they get it from.  It's from me!  I'm a horrible sport, huh.  Dang it!  Sorry boys, I suck at good sportsmanship.  I'm going to have to try better next time."

I still hate that game though.  I never win and I probably won't ever suggest we play it again.  So there's that.


Valerie said...

Ugh! I HATE CATAN! I also never win, once almost cried because I was so frustrated. I really don't enjoy games when you get stuck, and Catan is really that way! You just have to sit there, and wait for it to end. At least in Monopoly you can kill yourself off! I prefer Bohnanza as a trading style game and Puert Rico and Agricola as resource building games. Have you guys played Carcassone or Ticket to Ride? Those are two more of our favorites. El Grande, Power Grid and Pandemic would be other fun ones with boys your age. Bonus for Pandemic? It is actually a collaborative game!

BTW - Enjoying your blog posts lately. Are you sure you don't want your next move to be back to Bellingham so we can play some board games?

Lindsey said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one Val! And Catan lasts for sooooooo long. You just have to sit there while everyone else is enjoying themselves and appear to be having fun, while knowing full well the game has gone to total $h*t. The boys love Bohnanza and Ticket to Ride (I have a game app on my kindle for that one). We love Pandemic and I think we'll teach them that one next. I just put the other games you mentioned on my wish list. Thanks! And no, I love you and I love board games, but I don't love Bellingham. Any time we are in the same town at the same time, let's play though! WWU reunion sometime??