Magic, Pokemon, and other Family Gatherings

It may come as some shock, given how big of geek I am, that I hadn’t played Magic the Gathering until just recently. Sara thought that it would be a good thing to do together, rather than our normal pastime of sitting next to each other and reading. So, I sat down with her one day and played a game using cards she bought twenty years ago. Shortly after that, I found myself at Wal-Mart investing in the 2015 core set, so that I would have cards of my own. This has progressed in to my owning the Planeswalker video game, more cards, and my own “Blood Crypt” playmat to protect my black/white deck from…something. I’m not sure what the mat does, but it looks cool.

This led to playing Pokemon with my seven year-old son. Looking for a game that we could play with him, we picked up the Pokemon XY training deck. Honestly, he picked it up quicker than we did, but once again, it was good to have time away from computers, televisions, books, toys, and other distractions to just spend together. I also got to experience some of the competitive character traits that he obviously did not get from me. That kid has problems losing…and winning for that matter. But now I know.

Family time seems like a hard thing to capture these days. Everyone is always in a hurry, off to one commitment or another: jobs, clubs, events, and a never-ending series of other things that bide for our time. Has it really gotten so bad that one of my son’s tiger scout requirements is to have a single dinner with his family and talk about his day? Apparently. Family time, which I took for granted as a kid, has become another event to schedule, another participation ribbon or completion certificate in a constant stream of checked to-do lists.

I have never been a card game or board game person. I played video games a lot. I had sponsors in Counter-Strike. But I was never a social gamer. Now,as a member of a geek family, I can appreciate what I have been missing. Whether it is Magic, Pokemon, or even watching my son make a Dungeons and Dragons character, I finally see what social gaming is about. It’s fishing, camping, bicycle rides, picnics, and all of those things that you do for the sake of the experience rather than the outcome. It doesn’t matter who wins the game. It’s a way to be together in a world that so often pulls people apart. Whether we draw well or not, we all win.

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