Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Scrabble, Running Race a New Combo ; REFLECTIONS

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Scrabble, Running Race a New Combo ; REFLECTIONS

Article excerpt

Yesterday, if everything went as planned, I was the winner of the first Southern Indiana 10 Mile Race/Scrabble duathalon. You never heard of this competition, you say? You're not alone. I made it up. I had to.

This year, the annual 10-mile race in Vincennes, Ind., was scheduled the same day as the yearly Scrabble tournament to promote literacy. The run was in the morning and Scrabble in the afternoon. I knew I would enter the race, but it took some thought before I decided to enter the tournament.

My hesitation to play Scrabble was not because I thought the race would take too much out of me to perform respectably on the Scrabble board. In fact, I knew I'd do way better in Scrabble than in the race.

I don't mind finishing near the bottom in a race because, for me, a race is a race in name only. Runners rarely pass me because few start slower. And if I pass any runners, it's likely because they've begun to walk, which provides me little satisfaction in the conquest.

But that's OK. I don't run in races for the competition. I run because I still can and where I finish doesn't matter much.

Not so with Scrabble. I play Scrabble aggressively and I play to win. But the problem was, in this year's tournament, which is a team activity, I had virtually no chance of winning.

That wasn't always the case. A few years back my team, which included brothers Dave and Steve Barber, won the contest two years in a row. But this year, Dave and Steve were unavailable and while I'd like to think I was an integral part of our repeating championships, there was no way I could have done it on my own.

The tournament helps fund and promote literacy. That alone should have been enough to make me rationalize becoming a human Scrabble sacrifice. But it wasn't. The fact that I realize this attitude may be less than mature doesn't make it any less real.

If I hadn't won before, just competing may have held some appeal to me. But for me, not winning in Scrabble is losing, plain and simple. …

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