The Game of Scrabble — And Other Timeless Tests of Skill and Chance

This past weekend I played Scrabble for the first time in twenty years. Every holiday, I look longingly at the rows and rows of brand-new board games and remember.

When I was young, we made it a yearly habit of playing Masterpiece and Monopoly. Occasionally we’d default to a few others…but these were the faithful, trust and true (timeless) standbys.

When I had kids, we played any number of board games and our closet has the worn, torn, ragged edged boxes filled with partially complete games to prove it.

In the last few years, I’ve felt this desire to revisit some of these relationship building exercises (not because I’m any good at them…I’m not) but because it does help people reconnect (sitting across from individuals for several hours has a tendency to do that).

So, in an attempt to re-enact some fond childhood memories (theirs and my own) I bought a brand new Scrabble game (even though the family cynic said we’d never play it).


We did. And was it ever fun. It was.

As we sat there working our brains trying to come up with the best words for getting the most points, it came back to me how much time and energy it takes to play a good game of Scrabble.

And you learn some things about the people you’re playing opposite.

You quickly figure out who’ll get impatient and just play any word as opposed to those who will hold out for the best and most competitive alternative.

You also learn how much people will stretch to convince you that a questionable word is really a word…and how rules really are sometimes only “guidelines.”

All in all, playing a board game is anything but boring…and the time invested is well-spent.

Which reminds me of good friends…never boring…always worth the investment.

I love Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s take on “timelessly safe friends” and how to spot them.

The authors write —

People who pass the test of time are “timeless” people. They guard your trust as if it were money in the bank. They are stable and reliable in their emotional commitments.

That’s why time-friendly people tend to make fewer emotional commitments. They have a profound understanding of how much time it takes to be there for someone, so they think, deliberate, and pray long and hard before they decide to invest in a relationship. You might think they’re aloof or uncaring. They’re not. They are, instead, unwilling to write bad checks, emotionally speaking.

What a great definition of a great friend. I think next time I get out the Scrabble game, I’ll do my best to make room for “timelessly safe friend” on my board (and in my life).

And FYI, I lost this game by a huge margin (not an easy confession for someone who is as passionate about reading and writing as I am).


2 thoughts on “The Game of Scrabble — And Other Timeless Tests of Skill and Chance

  1. Michelle,
    When I was growing up our family played a lot of games too and Scrabble was a favorite of mine and my mom’s. We had so much fun and many good memories. I remember how she liked to kid me and mention how she could beat me even though she never went to college like I did. She was so competitive! She played very defensively and would NEVER play in a place where it would leave open a double or triple word opportunity! Of course our family didn’t have a TV when I was growing up so we had a lot more time to spend on games and such. I also have many fond memories of my mom reading to us. Thanks for your article.

    1. I’m still trying to figure out how to use those double or triple word opportunities when they present themselves…I tend not to be the most patient player…it’s almost like speed-Scrabble when I sit down. But I’m finding no player wins if they want to play fast…another exercise in slowing down to enjoy the moment (it is a game after all.) 😉

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