When I was little, I was a famously bad sport. I was like the board game equivalent of the new, clearly nefarious black-hatted stranger that would stroll casually into any saloon, immediately silencing the piano music with a glare while casually glancing around for anyone that might want to play. All went well at first, but as soon as the tides turned against me, I would snap, flinging board game pieces around the room like shrapnel, cursing chutes and do not pass go cards to the heavens while crying fountains of tears about the unfairness of it all. After awhile, everyone was wise to me, and no one would play, so I was forced to pretend, for the rest of my days, that I wasn’t dying inside every time someone beat me at Clue. (Spoiler alert: I still am. I just hide it a lot better.)
Funnily enough, this bad sport streak never extended to any actual outdoor sports, where I was incredibly chummy and unfazed by the outcome of any given game. This might be because I was absolutely terrible at all sports, and knew that my participation had no intrinsic value to anyone involved, so the pressure was kind of off.
Addie has, unfortunately, inherited my bad sportsmanship, and applies it liberally to both indoor and outdoor games. I was once accused of cheating at Candyland because I spun the Queen Frostine slot (side note: they don’t have cards in Candyland anymore, only spinners, which is not nearly as fun), and Addie didn’t speak to me for the remainder of the day, except to casually mutter under her breath as she passed me around the house that I was “the worst cheater who ever lived” and “not her mother anymore”. Addie, meanwhile, cheats with abandon, changing rules whenever it suits her.
Just today, for example, what could have been a fun, fair game of SPUD quickly devolved into a quagmire of Addie’s self-serving rules:
- It’s three big steps or five small steps, except for Addie, who gets to take UNLIMITED FUCKING STEPS.
- This tree is playing. Her name is Mrs. Leafy, and she is Addie’s friend. Because she is a tree, Addie will take all her turns for her.
- Addie can only get letters scored against her if you don’t cheat to get them. Cheating includes hitting her with the ball, looking her directly in the eye, and breathing.
- Everyone else only has to spell SPUD to get out. Addie has to get the entire alphabet.
So as you can imagine, Addie won every game of SPUD we played. It just wasn’t worth the fight that would ensue if I tried to correct her on the rules. I will count on her middle school PE teacher to do that for her, as he certainly crushed any sort of imaginative competition out of me by the middle of fifth grade. Besides, I don’t mind losing.
I’ll just take my revenge on the Monopoly board.