Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

It’s More Fun

My grandson and I watched an animated movie recently in which a main character was a star celebrity athlete who couldn’t stand to lose. So much so that he returned to his small home town to humiliate and defeat the one person who ever beat him, and to buy up the town in order to destroy it. After the movie, we discussed what that overpowering urge to win, and the corresponding rage at losing, meant to that character – the benefits he got and the price he paid for them. 

That led to a conversation about games and competition in general. I commented on the way that my grandson seems to approach games. He plays to win, but he is a gracious winner when he does, and a gracious loser when he doesn’t. Moreover, he is quick to help another person who is lagging behind. For example, in a recent checkers game, he was beating me soundly, but paused to point out a move I had overlooked, one that cost him one of his pieces. He also mentioned his friend who, while they were playing a video game, congratulated my grandson on a good move even though the move was to his friend’s disadvantage.

I asked him what motivated him to take this approach to competition rather than the approach taken by the character in the movie. He didn’t hesitate:

“It’s more fun.” 

He looked at me like that was obvious and didn’t need further explanation. 

Okay, so there you have it. 

Take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing, who has not the slightest interest even in his own personality: he’s free. ~Rumi

12 thoughts on “It’s More Fun”

  1. That is a great story that speaks volumes about how he is being raised. Our society tends to teach the opposite: win at all costs.

    When my grandson and I play virtual chess, we both do what your grandson did: help each other out by either not making an obvious move that would hasten the end of a game, or simply saying, "Are you sure about that?" We enjoy the game ever so much more.

  2. The kids are right — it IS more fun! One of the things I loved about switching from taekwondo to kung fu was that the approach to sparring was completely different. In TKD we sparred an "opponent" to get points and win. In kung fu, we had a "conversation" with a "partner" without keeping score so that we could try out things and learn. That changed everything.

    One thing this shut down has offered is a lot more time to play games with our grandchildren! Glad you are enjoying it. Thanks for commenting, Bob.

  3. What a beautiful uplifting and encouraging story Galen! Thank you for telling it. Your Grandson sounds like a wonderfully fine human being. That’s everything we could wish for ❤️

  4. That's true for so many of us, CW. I keep thinking of that question — Do you want to be right or happy? We could rephrase that — Do you want to win or be happy? That's not exactly right, because there is nothing wrong with playing to win. I think the issue is whether winning is your main motivation or whether enjoying the game is.

  5. Wow, I loved this personal story. It was the best. Your grandson's attitude it the best and I wish more young people felt that way. I do believe that when we use our agency well that we are truly more free.
    Blessings and hugs!

  6. I have never cared much about winning, or about playing games that have a winner and a loser. I know people who cannot imagine playing NOT to win and lord it over someone, but I can't imagine that is much fun. Thanks for the thoughtful post. 🙂

  7. Okay maybe we are sisters but not identical twins. I do like competitive games, but not so much to win but to engage. Who wins is not really important to me. I enjoy the game if I have been challenged have learned to think or see something in a different way. In fact, some of my favorite games have been ones I lost!

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