It’s All Fun and Games, Until Someone Gets Hurt


fun and games
photo credit: Storm Troopers Searching for Remaining Rebels at the Examination School of Oxford via photopin (license)

My girls play through it all. Brutal weather. Corrupt referees. Clueless coaches.

They’ve won and lost games in shootouts. Scored colossal goals. Been party to enormous collapses and stunning comebacks.

They’ve taken verbal abuse from opposing parents, been roughed up by overmatched opponents, and could fill a thousand goals with all the post-game crackers and cookies and chips and Powerades and Gatorades they’ve demolished.

Does the game involve a ball? Expect grace, skill and confidence from my girls.

Does the game include cards or dice? Expect an attack of savage proportions.

I love those gameboard boxes and magazine ads that depict the game-playing family as docile and supportive, mom, dad, buddy and missy, all smiles and enthusiasm and wholesome goodness.

I’m not proud. Grace suffered a neck injury while playing Whack-a-Mole.

My girls would kick their ass. Then steal their snacks.

I’m not proud. Grace suffered a neck injury while playing Whack-a-Mole. It’s a spirited card game of concentration and swiftness. Elise mistook her sister for a mole, apparently.

It’s the games we give them – Whack-a-Mole actually involves whacking a card to get points. You can imagine what will ensue when a kid is whacked instead of a card.

Where there’s a Monopoly board, there’s a Band-Aid. A Wii controller, there’s an ice pack. Where there’s a checker board, there’s an ace bandage.

My Candy Land experience consists of one ugly move in one horrific game.

Elise and Marie set up the board and gave me the crash course. I’d spent my childhood playing Mouse Trap and Battleship. This game had princesses, candy and frilly girl stuff. Fairies, yes, but also gingerbread men. I could dig that.

Marie, suspicious that Elise planted that magical Princess Frostine card that vaulted her past Lollipop Woods and Gumdrop Mountains and nearly to the finish, sprung across the board and onto Elise’s throat. With two hands.

Until Elise, who’d shuffled the cards, went first, and drew a card that appeared to have a smiling princess on it. Before she could move her gingerbread man, all hell broke loose.

Marie, suspicious that Elise planted that magical Princess Frostine card that vaulted her past Lollipop Woods and Gumdrop Mountains and nearly to the finish, sprung across the board and onto Elise’s throat. With two hands.

The dueling sisters thrashed and rolled. Red, green, yellow and blue gingerbread men scattered. The World of Sweets went sour.

Elise fended the attack with a quick slap to her sister’s face, sending Marie crying and bolting upstairs. Elise held her throat and cried, among scattered cards depicting sweets and treats.

It looked like a Saturday morning cartoon. It felt like a Vietnam War movie.

I sat in awe. Like when you see someone get mugged. Or a squirrel get hit by a car.

When you commit an unsportsmanlike infraction in soccer, the referee will show you a card. Yellow for warning, red for disqualification.

Heaven help that referee if he shows one of my girls the Princess Frostine card.

competition quote

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6 Replies to “It’s All Fun and Games, Until Someone Gets Hurt”

  1. So funny. I have some of those kids over here, too. Game night is NEVER how it looks on the commercials or Family Fun magazine. Blood is shed and tears fall EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Tommy has been known to overturn a game board or throw a game controller if he starts to lose. It is embarrassing and I now dread game nights.

    1. My kids hate Family Fun. They think it’s so tame. No bled shed. No tears. What fun is that? I chalk it up to “competitive nature” and not at all to any sort of failure in their parenting.

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