With my brow furrowed in concentration, I would size up the situation. Usually, it looked hopeless, and I knew there was a trap set up, I just couldn't see it. Nervously clutching my red checker, I would survey the pieces already in, and with a sigh of resignation, would drop the checker.
My grandfather would drop his black checker in, and voila, game over. He had beaten me at Connect Four. Again.
You see, this was a common, common occurrence. My grandfather loved playing games of all sorts, from chess to backgammon to "war" to Connect Four. He always won, and had no compunction whatsoever to allow a six year old to beat him in order to build up her self-esteem.
My aunt, having grown up with a father who could beat the pants off of anyone who ever played him in a game of practically anything, allowed her eldest daughter to win at every game, even if she had to lose to her on purpose. My aunt would lose a game of Candyland to her three year old so that she wouldn't have to suffer the same humiliating defeats that marked her childhood. And, well, adulthood for that matter, since my grandfather was merciless no matter what the age of his opponent.
Having witnessed my cousin grow up to be pouty and a bad sport at the age of 18 due to the cosseting from her mother, I determined I would follow in the footsteps of my grandfather. There would be no purposeful losing on my part. My son would learn how to be beaten and not get upset, an important life lesson. The gracious part would have to come later of course, because no one expects a three year old to be thrilled at the prospect of losing. But, he would learn to become a good sport if it was the last thing I did.
Except, it seems my son has a bit of his great-grandfather's legacy running through his veins.
I can't beat him.
I have tried no to avail to beat him at Go Fish. Dr. Seuss's ABC's? I've never won once. Bob the Builder Memory Game? The kid has the best luck on the planet, he always beats me by over 5 pairs. There is another game we have where he has to identify cards by similar letters and colors. Uh, beaten again yesterday.
Really, I'm not a bad game player, I've been known to win a few things in my time. But, Mr. Personality is practically a force of nature.
Don't think I haven't considered cheating. Be quiet, I bet you would too.
I think I can hear my grandfather laughing as I type this.