Participation Awards

Chess has been the board game of choice in our home lately. I’ve never been great at chess – no, let’s be honest, I’m really terrible at the game. Whenever I finally think I’ve got a brilliant scheme to get the upper hand, some pawn comes out of nowhere and kills my queen. And puts me in check mate. In the first five minutes.

When I first started teaching my kids, I took no mercy. Every chance I got, I pulled out my best strategies and made a good show out of it. I took great pleasure in my victories!

Finally, I had worthy opponents to my skill level!

Years have passed since I introduced the game to my offspring. I can’t remember the last time I’ve won against my oldest, or my nine year old for that matter…. My daughter, like me, isn’t the most skilled at this game – but, then again, is it really a necessary life skill?

However, I’ve still secretly revelled in my ability to win the game against my youngest two boys. I mean, they’re smart kids. But alas, the inevitable day came early last week when my seven year old beat me. In approximately ten moves.

Humiliated and desperate to redeem myself, I challenged my five year old to a match. Surely I could recover gracefully through a sure victory!

I grinned from ear to ear as I pulled out the best of tricks I could think of….but then…oops! I didn’t see his Knight there! And again! What?? That Rook came out of nowhere!

As the game wore on my smug smile slowly faded and I realized just how bad I really am at the game. I’m far too focused on one area and I forget to watch the whole board and all the intricate pieces which make different moves. I make wrong assumptions based on what I would do and low and behold, half an hour later I had lost the only shred of chess-playing dignity I had left: I officially lost to a preschooler (who was snickering at me and saying: “easy-peasy!”)

And then, just when I thought I couldn’t stoop any lower, my snarky eleven year old daughter comes into the room with this:

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A participation award!!!

Oh the humiliation! Oh the embarrassment!

My only comforting thought was that I was, in fact, the one who taught him to play chess in the first place. In fact, I’m really his only teacher thus far. So he had most likely learned his skills from me right??

I’ll leave you to judge whether that’s a good thing or a bad one.

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