Of fine margins and scrabbled ramblings

Today, I have an extra spring in my step, and I owe that majorly to the fact that over the weekend, I participated in a scrabble tournament. Now, those who know me to some extent know how passionate about scrabble I am. I mean, it is one of the few things I can do and get lost in for hours without a care in the world. I can play scrabble for hours and forget I have to eat, and food is normally very important to me. So you should have an idea of what scrabble means to me.

I won 7 out of 16 games, so competitive performance-wise, it wasn’t one of my best outings. However, on a personal level, it was the closest to my best I gave as far as competitive scrabble is concerned. Anyway, here are a few take-aways from the event.

PERSONAL VICTORIES AREN’T OUTRIGHTLY USELESS

As I mentioned already, I gave close to my best in all the games I played in such that the cumulative scores I had per game was my best average in tournament scrabble. I went toe to toe with all opponents, refusing to be beaten even before the start of any game, unlike in my previous outings when I became despondent as soon as my opponent shot ahead. This gives me encouragement that with more than a little more work that improves my word power and skill level, I’d be at the very top in no time.

MASTERY IS AN ART

I play in the opens category for now. It is the most basic category in scrabble as it features relative neophytes, as well as some more experienced players who have for some reason not improved their games over the years. You see, the time, money and energy professional players of the game of scrabble devote to the game makes it necessary – in my opinion – to always strive to get better. There is no joy in a claim you’re passionate about something without investing the energy needed to be a master of that thing. Otherwise, you had better pack your bags and get moving. The meteoric rise of some of the players in these categories serves as a source of encouragement to me personally to not just make up the numbers in scrabble and in other endeavors I’m involved in. Needless to say, they all had some systematic account of the methods they employed to attain proficiency. What is art if not the systematic application of skill for production of an awesome output?

ADVERSITY HAS ITS USES

Well, perhaps the usage of the word ‘adversity’ in this “mere report” is excessive, but that’s what I’ll like to describe a situation in which a player has lost a handful of games and is probably losing another before he summons his inner guru for expression. I’ve seen players fight their way from the dregs to a respectful position in the end. I’ve found that they’ve had to dig deep into their subconscious for words buried deep there when the need became dire. I’ve found that the fear of embarrassing ignominy has spurred many a player to go on a run they probably wouldn’t have had they had things rosy from the onset.

THE EYES ARE MADE FOR SEEING

I know I said I gave my best in all the games I played. Yet, I lost at least four games carelessly because I was too comfortable. I played those games to an extent that in my mind, I didn’t give my opponents a chance or prayer of coming back into the game. I had become so confident I was the runaway winner that I practically started taking the moves in stride as the number of tiles in the bag ran out. As such, I couldn’t see opportunities before my very eyes to put a nail in their playing coffins. I only saw what I should have and could have done in retrospect after I had lost those games. There is a malady the comfort zone tags anyone who revels in it with. The malady is such that the reveler might fail to see opportunities that could better his lot even when those opportunities are in plain sight. Sometimes, he is only left to rue missed chances as beautiful things pass him by. One thing I learnt from my latest adventure is to always have my eyes wide open for opportunities that lie within my very purview even when I think I’m faring relatively well. Things change in a heartbeat.

There’s so much more I could say, experiences I could share, people I could adulate for the roles they played in making my stay in Abeokuta memorable, but that might ensure you don’t get to the end of this lengthy chronicle.

It was awesome meeting with friends, seeing the work of masters of the game, getting lost for a few days in something that means a lot to me, learning a few lessons along the way, getting my scrabble mojo back and so on.

Like I said, I have an extra spring in my step this week, and I hope you find that step as well as immense joy in the things you do best.

Cheers to a fantastic week ahead!

Here’s a quick trivia for you: NIGERIA IS THE SECOND BEST SCRABBLE PLAYING NATION IN THE WORLD, SECOND ONLY TO THE UNITED STATES.

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