Games with Parents - Part 3

I’ve got a history of games with my mom, and with my dad, but we haven’t talked about playing games with my grandparents yet. I think that’s where it started for me actually–with my grandparents–rather than mom and dad. More traditional sports and stuff came from the parents, but my love of card games and stuff definitely originates with their parents.

When I was super little I remember playing cards with my dad’s mom. She taught me how to play “slap jack” when I was really young. I couldn’t tell you the age specifically, but If i had to guess I was probably around 5 years old. You each get half the deck, like when you play War, and you flip a card face up at the same time. When a jack is revealed, whoever slaps it first gets to take all the cards underneath it. If you slap a card that ISN’T a jack, then your opponent gets the pile. Not exactly the most complicated game but we had a blast doing it.

My dad’s dad got me into dominos. We didn’t play a ton, but when we did play I remember how he kept score. Well, I don’t remember how, because he did it via symbols and not numbers, and I never learned how he was doing it or how his scoring worked, but I will forever remember that it was different than normal. I still play dominos to this day, but I keep score “normally.”

My mom’s mom got us into this rummy game. Not Gin Rummy, but this game with this circular thing that had all these different compartments. You played the game with cards, but you had to pay into all these compartments in the center based on how the cards played out. I don’t remember how it all worked, but I LOVED that game. She taught us some other games too, but that was always my favorite one.

So yea, I’d say my love of playing games came from my grandparents first. I wish they were around when I found cornhole as I think they would have enjoyed playing it. They watched a bunch of tv as they aged like so many people do, but playing games was always a big part of our get-togethers. For many years we only got together once a year, so actually DOING stuff was always important when we were together. We didn’t just sit around and watch movies or whatever. We laughed, had great conversations, shared stories, all over playing games. And that’s something I always loved about getting together with my grandparents.

It’s something that I think kids of this generation have really lost. Me to some degree, too, really. I grew up as video games became more and more popular, and now they’re so readily available on phones, tablets, computers, etc. Not everyone had a computer when I was young, and certainly not one that could play the good games. You had to get a whole console just to play games, and they were awesome (for the time). But sitting down at a table with a board game, or a card game, and being able to play stuff when you’re traveling in the car, or on a plane…there’s just something different about it.

Now you can’t play cornhole on a plane really, but you CAN play it in places without power, which you CAN’T do with video games. You’ve got to find space, usually outside, and find some people to actually play with in real life. Not your friends in another state or another country, which is cool mind you, but for cornhole you’ve gotta do it in person. And this is where you have the space to have those laughs, share stories, have conversations, all while you actually DO something with people.

I’m not saying that cornhole is some super special thing that people need to adopt, but I think embracing more games that happen in real life, that are unplugged, offers something unique in today’s technological environment. Cornhole is fun, it’s portable, it’s social, it’s relatively cheap. I’d seriously recommend incorporating it into your list of things to do when you get together with friends or family, of all ages, and start enjoying games that don’t require a screen.