As young children most of us are taught to play games and every game, no matter how simple, has a winner. Obviously, if there is A winner then there is also a loser, or an assortment of them. We’re also taught things like, “Don’t be a sore loser,” and “Don’t be a gloating winner.” There is an effort made to teach us how to act whether things go our way or not; whether we win or lose. We’re taught to play our hardest and do our best. We’re taught, “It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.” What is all too often neglected in the teachings that center around games, competition, winning and losing is how all those neat clichés interconnect. What do they really mean? In the end, what do we gain by winning? What have we lost by losing?
Again, as children, running around playing a game is its own reward. All of that energy spent and fun had is why you play any game. TAG could go on for hours along with Hide-and-Seek. Those were what I call “free form” games. There didn’t have to be an overall winner and there were no time-based periods, quarters, halves, etc. It was just a “play until you run out of time and have to be home for dinner” kind of game. Everyone playing, at some point, was “it.” Being “it” meant nothing but that you had to count, look, chase, etc. There really was no way to lose.
Then we grew up some and we were introduced to more structured games…
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