In order to really understand this anecdote, you will need a bit of back story.
The Perone family has a bit of a competitive streak. As in, when Adam and I first started dating, he quickly learned to refuse to play Uno with me; he didn’t like that I formed alliances. We play trivia games in the car that frequently reference arcane facts covering a wide range of interests we have collectively held over the years.
Scrabble, though, is where our nature really shows. Adam, who is an English teacher with THREE Master’s degrees will not play with us.
We also do not so much believe in dumbing down games. There is no “letting the child win” in our house. My mother, who at one time taught middle school biology, once played the word “zygote” for the win. I was 8 at the time. My father frequently makes up words – he has a large vocabulary and is quickly able to come up with believable definitions so his opponents are never certain whether to challenge him and call his bluff. My brother, in fact, wrote his college application essay about the words our father added to our family lexicon that are maybe not found in a standard dictionary.
So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to allow Cole to play with me against Coach and Grammy Boo. All three of us prepared my 7-year-old for the eventuality that he would very likely lose this game. *I* have never won a game of Scrabble against my parents.
You’re with me? High stakes.
We got an inauspicious start, as Cole drew a B to earn us first turn, but then we had to pass that advantage because our first 7 letters were AAIICOO. We stayed in the game and varied between 2nd and 3rd place until toward then end, when we had the opportunity to use our Z on a triple word score. The catch was that along with our horizontal “DOZE” came the questionable vertical “OD,” which I was 90% sure was a word, but not certain. Cole weighed our options carefully – the chance for a super high-scoring turn rocketing us into first place with a lead vs. being challenged and losing a turn and ultimately the game.
We went for it.
We had a few turns after that, but that was clearly the turning point. We. Won. The. Game.
“Od” was on our side.