Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Discourse on Scrabble

   Lots of changes have happened in the school where I teach, hence there is even less time for me to blog nowadays. But these changes are for the better, and I am really grateful that this fifth year of my teaching life is proving to be even more challenging and fruitful than the previous years!

    One of the new hats I'm now wearing is that of Scrabble Team Coach. Full disclosure alert: I was never a huge fan of Scrabble as a child. I was more into Chess and my personal favorite board game (which I fully believe is THE most exciting board game EVER!!): Game of the Generals. And in my elementary and high school years, I was into more physical sports like Swimming and Taekwondo, so I was never really immersed in Scrabble... until this year.

     I was tasked to take charge of the RMM Scrabble Team and prepare for the Milo Little Olympics in Marikina. Sadly, we weren't able to find enough grade school members in time for the contest, but we were blessed to have five adorably geeky high school students come on board for the high school team:

That's newly-turned-14 Jericho, brother and sister Isiah and Gian, silent-but-deadly Mel Rey, 
and team captain Eric with his younger brother and biggest fan, Evan.

      Over a period of a few months, I watched (with a great deal of admiration and respect) as these teenagers played Scrabble for hours at a time, non-stop. Their love for the game was such that they would keep on playing until I practically forced them to go home! THAT is how much they loved playing Scrabble.

     I've been wondering about the secrets of this humble board game, and why it can make people obsessed (but in a good way). And because of our exposure to other Scrabble teams from all over NCR, I think I'm beginning to understand why this game fascinates people so much. Scrabble is just like life!

      In Scrabble, as in life, you don't really know what tiles you're going to get. Sometimes you get vowel dumps, and sometimes you get a rack full of nothing but consonants. That's when preparation counts for a lot.

     Some Scrabble players rely on stock knowledge and natural intelligence. These aren't the ones that win in the major leagues. The ones who come out on top are those who take the time to memorize the seemingly never-ending list of two letter and three letter words that rarely get used in day-to-day conversations, the ones who memorize all the possible words containing J,Q,Z, and all possible seven letter combinations in order to get as many "bingos" as they can.

      In short, it's not how smart you are that determines success. In Scrabble, as in life, it's the smart AND hardworking people that succeed. Scrabble teaches us that there is no short cut to getting to that highly coveted position in Table 1. Only a great deal of hard work can get us there.

      Hopefully, next year, RMM Scrabble Team will get to Table 1. We can do it guys! GO RMM Scrabble!
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