There comes a point in a pride of lions that one of the younger males feels big enough to challenge the top lion. If the young lion wins the older lion is banished and takes to the wilds alone.
Fortunately I’m not a lion. I’m not ready to move out.
Today after several months break the kids wanted to get out our little mini pool table again. And, of course, Dad is the one they want to play against. Especially my older boy. The kid can see complex physics and geometry in his head, I swear. Last time we played I was still beating him more often than not.
That’s changed. Today he won nearly every game. I got rusty, he stayed fresh, and though it was often close, he defeated me handily. I don’t begrudge him that. The kid needs a confidence boost from time to time. I don’t have a problem giving it to him, provided he earns it. I’m not one to believe in throwing games. I believe they learn faster when they can see you playing at your best. You know, the justification the rest of the world made for wanting us to send our NBA players to the Olympics (which has worked).
As a result it’s that much more of a confidence booster, I think. If you do win you know you accomplished something. And I’ll admit it. The kid is good. His grandpa would be proud.
I think tonight he was hoping his winning streak in pool would carry over to chess. It didn’t. I can still take him. But I can’t take it for granted. I beat him handily the first two games, but he insisted on a third. I made a mistake and lost my queen. He then proceeded to deprive me of a rook, a knight, and a bishop as well. It was not looking good for Team Daddy.
Then I managed to pull off a move straight out of Ender’s Game and checkmated him. He didn’t care. He was thrilled to have had me on the ropes in the first place. But the writing is on the wall. It’s only a matter of time before I’ve got to be in top form to stand a chance.
Lesser men might be discouraged by this. Not me. I’m pleased to see my children growing and learning, becoming more capable.
Besides, I’ve got plenty more games that are much more complex I can introduce him to–and wipe the floor with him for a few years. We’ll just keep raising the bar to see how high he can go. Yeah, that’s it. I’m…uh…doing this for his own good!