The last time we played Monopoly at home, I won. Won as in won big. So big there was no way anyone would have been able to catch up.
And I loved it. Loved the feeling. Loved winning.
And that brought back memories.
Several years ago, Alex bought a poker set and we played on a Christmas Eve. I won. Speedy remarked that I could have let the girls win a few games.
That night made me think of another game a long time ago when I was younger. In my teens. At a family reunion on my mother’s side.
Someone decided it would be fun to have an auction and donations for auctionable items poured in. There was a set of drinking glasses that I liked and I started bidding. There were several bidders at first but, as the bids rose higher and higher, only two were left. An old lady — and I mean grandma-old — and myself.
Obviously, I didn’t have as much money as the old lady. Not with my savings from my school allowance, for sure. But everytime she raised the bid, I’d go higher by adding one peso.
And it went on for a while until my mother pulled me aside. For some reason, she was upset. Let it go, she said. Let her (the old lady) have the glasses, she told me sternly.
Why? I asked.
Because she’d old and they weren’t very valuable glasses anyway, she said.
But that wasn’t the point. It was an auction, for goodness’ sakes. It was about winning. How far you’re willing to go, how well you could guage how far your opponent was willing to go and what kind of nerve you have to drop out at the right moment.
I got angry and walked out. I presumed the old lady got to bring home the glasses.
I thought about both incidents toward the end of the Monopoly game. I could have been less competitive. Less ruthless. I could have let the girls defeat me.
Wouldn’t I be doing them a disservice?
Wouldn’t I be robbing them of the pleasure of experiencing real victory? Of winning on merits?
If I won anything — ANYTHING — because someone handed the game to me, I’d feel insulted. It’s like being told that that’s the only way I could win. Because I’m not smart enough or good enough or worthy enough.
Now why would I want to do that to my daughters?