Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scrabble Babble

From April 21, 2008...

I love the game of Scrabble. So when I saw in Borders' clearance section a book entitled Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players by Stefan Fatsis, I had no choice but to spend the $3.99 and bring it home.

A list of adjectives to describe the book:

hard to put down (not impossible, but difficult)

Contradictory terms, I know. Droll and humourous in the same book? But it's true. At times, I laugh and laugh because the players (real people, all of them) are just so insanely wacky. At other points, though, my eyes start glazing as I read paragraph after paragraph of word plays and scores and anagram possibilities.

Seriously, some people dedicate their lives to this game! They can't hold down jobs. They have little or no income. Relationships are minimal, at best, excepting, of course, their Scrabble buddies. They practice and study, then practice and study some more. I'm certainly not judging them. If Scrabble completes their lives and gives them the sense of control we all seek in something, then more P-O-W-E-R (10 points) to them!

Last night, I read a fascinating couple of pages toward the end of the book. Fatsis noticed a distinct gender separation among the top Scrabble champions. Interviewing three women to get their take on the disparity, they acknowledged simply that yes, men do dominate the coveted Scrabble championships. Not because they are smarter, but because they are more dedicated. "Dedicated" in that last sentence can and maybe should read "obsessed". Women don't put their lives on hold, ignore their families, forego friendships to focus solely on learning the 240,000 or so acceptable Scrabble words. Instead, they balance their love of the game with their love of their families.

And, personally, I must agree. As much I love the game and could play against Maven, the Scrabble software opponent, all day long, I do need to maintain balance. I think I do pretty well. A game or two in the evening. Maybe a game after I eat lunch. The rest of the time I convince myself to write or clean or volunteer or best of all, play with my girls, who are just like their mama: Scrabble officianados. I've taught them well!
Posted by CA girls at 1:49 PM

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