The Mind of the Competitive Male Teen...


Bananagrams is one of my favorite "board" games. Mostly because you don't need a board at all, just a...banana. Throw it in your swim bag, purse, diaper bag, etc. and you've got a great game anywhere with anyone who can spell. It also doubles as a big bean bag for antsy toddlers.

The game is like Scrabble but much faster since no one has to wait to play his turn. Everyone plays continuously, dictionaries are permitted, relaxed people can just enjoy building their words and intensely competitive people (of which we have a couple) can battle and strategize down to the last tile.

I played this wonderful game pool side with the Professor yesterday. He's the junior high age member of the "intense" faction of our family. I had settled in for a competitive game and was looking forward to another win (I have only lost once since buying the game...not that this matters). I was absorbed in my own work and had not been watching his progress. Suddenly, he says:

"I did it!"

Me: "You did not. You still have a big pile of letters and there still are more in the center pile."

Professor: "I did do it. I accomplished what I set out to do and now my game is over."

Me: "I don't understand you."

Professor: "My one aim in playing this game was to spell the word 'gastrovascular' before you won and I did it!"

Indeed, he had done it. And I let him take a picture to prove it (see above). But it left me feeling entirely deflated. Robbed of a hard fought victory.

I learned a lesson yesterday: The competitive teenage brain is unlike my own. It will, in the face of certain defeat, find a way to win anyway. And even if the Supreme Court were to strike down the victory in a unanimous decision, the competitive teenage brain will never concede.

From now on I will be firmly establishing the rules before playing. And I'm considering assigning a certain male child a lengthy report on something related to...gastrovascular. There are definite advantages to homeschooling!

Posted on July 15, 2010 and filed under "Bananagrams", "games".