My younger cousin does not know how to lose. She’s a board game shark. She’s a hustler. She walks around my grandma’s house with the confidence of a mob boss, challenging you to innocent games of Uno and then robbing you of your dignity. When I visited my grandma’s house in Louisiana this summer I decided it was time to put an end to the tyranny.
I threw down the gauntlet. One day of games, any game she picked we’d play, winner takes all, loser cries in a corner. She accepted with a smug look on her face. But over the course of four hours I took that smug look, threw it in a bowl with some cereal, and ate it for breakfast.
She never knew what hit her. We started with Sorry! and oh was she sorry. 4 to 1 victory for me. Even after two rematches, she was no closer to stealing away my Sorry! crown. Then we moved on to Trouble, Sorry!’s bastard little cousin. And guess who won, I did. I beat her again and again. No matter how many rematches, I beat her. And I laughed in her tiny little face.
Chinese Checkers, Uno, Go Fish, all of these games ended in huge wins for me. Uno, her wheel house, her go to hustle move, I beat her four times in half an hour. I was relentless. Hide and Seek, Freeze Tag, I win. I even found ways to beat her at made up games like Restaurant. She honestly thought she could make better invisible pancakes than me! Silly kid.
At the end of the day, we sat down to a soul crushing game of Scrabble, just to make sure she got the message. I was winning, because we have thoroughly determined that that is what I do. Her older sister (the middle child of three) came home from a long day of doing something related to horses. She sat at the table and watched as I bullied her sister around with big money words like fireman while she cashed in three letter words for junk change. I turned to the new arrival with a huge smile. “So I’ve been beating your sister at games all day. Uno, Sorry!, Trouble, you name it, I beat her.” I was so proud of myself.
She looked over at her little sister whose face just looked miserable after learning that she sucked at everything, then she whispered to me “You that she’s seven years old, right?”
We all laughed. Well I kinda laughed, it was more like I was crying. I realized that my cousin (a seven year old little girl) had somehow convinced me (a twenty year old man big manly man) that it was very important that I spend an entire day of my life proving that I was better than her. And that’s a victory I could never take away from her.