Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'll be right Backgammon

Backgammon is a board game that dates back to approximately 3,000 B.C. and has it's origins in the middle east.

My relationship with my wife dates back to 2008 A.D.  and has it's origins on the internet.

Baseball may have marked the passing years for America, but Backgammon has marked them for me and my girl.

Here we are on our wedding anniversary, May 15, 2018, after completing eight years of marriage. She's pretty, right? She's also a great mom to our boys and bakes cakes that melt in your mouth. Well, don't let the sweet smile, kind eyes, and sweater full of goodies fool you. She is a competitive demon.

I learned early on that when it comes to passing the time with her, there is nothing more important than winning. Giver her an arbitrary premise, a sheet of cardboard with squares printed on it, and a generalized set of rules, and suddenly your ass is grass and she's the lawnmower.

The best evidence I can present for her gaming disorder is anecdotal. It likely happened in 2008 while we were on a date. She shared a story of her father becoming enraged because she was beating him at a game of Othello while sharing her attention with a television program. To her father, who was losing while giving his full attention, that was the last straw and the game flew. Little did he know his daughter shared DNA with the likes of Kasperov, which made her hard to beat. She also apparently has some of her dad's DNA, because she's a sore loser too.

We were in a starbucks on November 22, 2008 having a coffee date. That could be the day she shared the Dad Threw The Othello Board story with me, because I showed her how I could use my Palm III to play Othello with her. I beat her soundly. She raged out and struggled to turn off my device. In the process she spit out her mouth full of coffee over me and the window of the Starbucks. To preserve our four month long budding relationship, we decided to try a game with less personal history, and in walked Backgammon.

I already knew how to play, so I figured if she started out losing, she'd be more Bruce Banner than Incredible Hulk. Sound logic, even as I look back on it after all of these years.

She had a different idea, and that was to purchase not only a game board but a journal as well, where we could record each of our games and track our progress. That way in the future we could reminisce over ass-kickings she'd handed me throughout the years.

How did the first encounter go, you might ask? Take a look for yourself. The game took place on New Year's Day, 2009. She never played before and out scored me seven points to two.

The subsequent encounters on January 3 and 4 also fell in her favor. One might think I was throwing the games on purpose to curry romantic favors from her. Nope! She was just that good, but still competitive, and always sweet, as you can see in the inscription she wrote inside the journal.

And speaking of competitive, how in the world did she know that our relationship would last? When she wrote this dedication, we'd been dating less than a half of a year, but somehow she knew. Either that or her competitive side made sure it would happen.

This year I will have known my wife for ten years, and I am writing these words on our eighth wedding anniversary.

Here's a page from the journal marking the day we wed. We didn't play Backgammon on our wedding day, unlike the day I proposed. That was October 10, 2009, and I beat her two points to one.

Notice on the top of the page where I've indicated our wedding date. This was likely done before we began playing on May 17, the first time we did so as husband and wife. She beat me, of course. See the numbers below the tally marks? That's the cumulative point score since we started playing in 2009.

A month later we found time for a game and apparently made a side bet for that day's play of winner getting a full body massage from the loser. I got a big old goose egg and my wife got three points, each punctuated by me with drawings, the first being a frowny face, then frowny with tongue out, then a middle finger.

It's been a long journey for us, marriage and Backgammon. I am still behind in the points standing 265 to 220. Sadly now, it is time for a change.

It is with a heavy heart that I report the irreparable damage of our original Backgammon board. Notice the playing surface is broken,  likely caused by something heavy in the back of my car falling on it. The dice were already replaced, the spare pieces lost, but the original journal remains.

For nine years this board marked the growth of the love shared by my wife and I, and saw the beginning of a life long commitment as husband and wife. It's like our "The Notebook," but without the 'I can't remember who you are' stuff. Now it is time to move on.

As we begin our ninth year of marriage, we do so with a new Backgammon board. These pictures show the test game we played last night. In honor of our old board, we did not keep score in the journal, but I will reveal that my wife Paige beat me once again. Happy Anniversary dear.