It’s Friday night in southern Indiana. My niece and daughters are dressed up like fairies flittering from room-to-room finding dust in furniture. Our wives are caught up in conversations crescendoed by laughter and “no waits”. All the while, my brother, nephew and I sit around the table wearing pensive brows with dead eyed stares.
What are we doing? Well, I’m thinking how annoying it is that my brother loads his Orzhov deck with Festering Newts, which aren’t that great unless his Bogbrew Witch and Bubbling Cauldron make their way to the field before I can “overload” my Mizzium Mortars and destroy the whole lot of them. I happily build up land while “one dropping” Goblins and watching with a wry smile as his son’s Gruul deck wore him down. A benefit of being Uncle, he usually attacks Dad first.
Huh? What? Goblins, Witches, and Festering Newts? Is this some sort of cult? My kids pretend to be fairies, they don’t really think they are fairies.
We’re playing Magic the Gathering, a fantastic trading card game that involves logic, math, social skills, and a little bit of luck. Throw in the fact that I can organize and amass large quantities of cards with cool art work and collectibility – I’m hooked. Not only does this “card game” challenge our wits, but it galvanizes relationships, giving my brother, nephew, and I another common area of life to share.
I grew up with games. Cribbage, poker, Rummy Royal, Euchre, Monopoly, and many others were played frequently and with intensity. Sitting around the table on a Friday night playing games usually meant laughter, arguments, and inevitably an escort to bed filled with tears and rants about getting back at a sibling who “cheated”.
It’s where we learned to win, to lose, about patience, and that no matter what age you are, Dad shows no mercy. More importantly, we were gathered sharing life, and not having it sucked from us into the tube.
With all the apps, programs, and other events targeting specific demographics leaving us alone/together with glowing faces, I tip my multi-pointed hat to games like Magic the Gathering where all ages are challenged and encouraged to engage, with the only clear cut advantage being the time you devote to understanding.
Nobody believes they’re wizards (most of us), we too laugh at the ridiculousness of some of our jargon and creatures, but, like any game worth playing, we share it, take it seriously and want to win. Sounds a lot like life.
Game night isn’t about the magic in the cards, but the enchantment of being with family and friends.
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.