Head Coach: Why should Rudolph have all the fun?
By Lane Johnson
Jan. 10, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 9, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
Remember Rudolph and the reindeer games? Have you ever wondered what games they played? I have. In fact, having always been a kid at heart I am forever looking for ways to turn just about anything into a game. The kid in me does this because it's fun. The adult justifies it by pointing out the productive advantages of most games.
Games teach lessons in cooperation, teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship, following rules and much more. Games can serve several purposes at one time. They give us exercise and health benefits. They can be entertaining to watch. Games provide a venue for goodwill between different cultures.
But who cares about all that? Let's get back to being kids and appreciate games for what they really are. Games are fun, and they make doing chores more tolerable. Doing dishes is not such a chore when the soap suds are not detergent but saliva from a dish-eating serpent who lives down the drain. The dishes are food and the serpent will only retreat when all the dishes are put away clean. The silverware are my weapons to fend off the serpent by thrusting them periodically into the drain. That's why the utensils are washed last. I love cleaning weapons after a victorious battle.
In this same spirit, I invented a new game this year that incorporates lively competition with solving the tedious chore of having to pick up Christmas wrapping. We all know what that's like. Once all the gifts are distributed and ripped into, we're left with a room littered with gift-wrapping remains. Somebody has to pick all this up. And who wants to do that after just acquiring all this new stuff?
Well, the problem is solved if you play a game I call "The Christmas Bowl." My wife and I played it this Christmas for the first time. It worked beautifully. We placed empty cardboard boxes of like size (one for each player) across the room, side by side, with our names on them to identify which was which. Then, we passed out presents and the games began. After opening each gift, gleefully admiring the contents and expressing appropriate gratitude to the giver; before moving on to the next gift, we crunched up the discarded wrapping and tossed it toward our identified box.
If the throw was accurate and the paper went into our box, we got a point. If it accidentally went into the other person's box then they got the point. If we missed both boxes and it landed on the floor, no one was awarded any points. The game was over when all the presents were opened and wrapping tossed. Whoever ended up with the most pieces of wrapping in their box was crowned the reigning Christmas Bowl champion.
Aside from the fun of engaging in spirited competition, there was the added bonus of not having to pick up any littered gift wrapping. It was already discarded into boxes. Or close to them. The clean-up was done. That makes for a perfect game. We had fun, and the clean-up chore was not a chore.
We should all play more games. Sometimes, adulthood steals that from us. Don't let it happen. We may have grown up and are forced to take on serious and important responsibilities. But, just because the responsibilities are serious doesn't mean we have to always be serious. Take time to play, laugh and shoot some hoops. If you have forgotten how there is a little kid inside each of us who is just waiting to show you.
By the way, my wife won The Christmas Bowl. By one point. I thought it rather rude for her to steal the inaugural championship for a game I invented. Besides, she won on a mere technicality. She had more pieces of paper in her box than I did. She called her extra piece of paper an indication of an indisputable, resounding victory. I find that description a little grandiose for a mere technicality. But I didn't refute it. I just went to the kitchen to slay another salivating drain serpent.
Lane Johnson, M.Div., LPC, is a licensed counselor. He welcomes your comments. You can contact him by email at lane@StrategicConnectionGroup.com.