Playing Games

I love board games, but there is something you should know about me before you challenge me to one.

I love to win, and when I do I almost always have winner’s guilt.  The first part has always been true, but the second part is a recent development.

Growing up, my goal was always to beat my dad.  He’s my benchmark for intelligence, as it were.  As I got better at games, my mom and sister refused to let my dad and me play on the same team.  (Honestly, it was more fun for me that way, too, because then I got to try to beat him.)  There was never any guilt, no hard feelings when someone won.

I went to high school with a bunch of smart kids.  We played games a lot, and again, I never felt bad winning or losing.  If I lost, well, let’s play again!  (The only exception for me was chess.  I mostly stopped playing chess in high school, because it is a patient, plotting kind of game and I have no skill at that.  When you know you have no chance of winning, there’s no incentive to play.)

College was the same.  I tried my best to trounce my guy friends at Risk, and sometimes I would actually win.  There were two of us who were much more serious about it, and the game often boiled down to the two of us.  (Everyone else would eventually leave.)

So where did this winner’s guilt come from?  My ex.  We played a lot of board games.  Truth be told, he was a party pooper when it came to games.  If we got a new one and he didn’t win at least once in the first few times we played, he’d never play that game again.  He was also really good at making me feel bad if he lost.  I came up with lots of creative and sneaky ways to let him win, so he’d be happy and still play the game.  (He didn’t do the same in reverse; there were two games I refused to play with him because he always won and wasn’t very nice about it.)

Now that he’s not in my life, I’m finding it an interesting challenge to get rid of my winner’s guilt.  It helps that my friends are having none of this silly “I’m sorry I won” response.  They want me to be a worthy competitor, and they don’t mind playing again even if I trounce them occasionally. 🙂