Het leven is als het damspel
Via facebook kwam ik een artikel tegen van Kathy Archer. In dit artikel maakt Archer een vergelijking tussen het damspel en het leven zelf. De bron van het artikel is hier te vinden. Het is de moeite van het lezen zeker waard. Klik op de lees meer knop voor het artikel (engels).
Life is like a checkers game.
A bit of a Forrest Gump-ish statement, perhaps, but if you watch several hours of checkers games in any given week, your mind is bound to wander somewhere.
For entertainment value, watching people you know play checkers is still far more exciting than watching golf on TV or cat videos on the Internet. Checkers and similar games have amused people for literally thousands of years; ancient Egyptians and Romans played checkers, and Wikipedia says checkers was played during the Trojan War. The Moors reportedly brought checkers games to Spain in the 10th century, and the game then spread to southern France and eventually England. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Harry Houdini and Will Rogers were all checkers players.
Most of us who grew up in the pre-video games world learned how to play checkers in our youth. It’s sufficiently simple that most people can play, and it’s sufficiently complex that my city-kid cousins could beat me every time. As William T. Call wrote in 1905 (before my time), “If the penalty of being civilized is that we must connive and contrive to kill the most precious thing we have — time — what surer and gentler instrument can we find than the game of checkers?”
So when my workplace held our second annual company-wide lunchtime checkers tournament last week, the interest and participation were good; and it was interesting, to say the least, to observe the different aspects of personalities that were brought out by playing checkers. Some of the quietest, mildest-mannered people became absolute animals when deeply entrenched in a checkers game; others surprised me by how quickly they gave up when the game’s outcome looked questionable. And there are a lot of life lessons that correlate quite well with the way various people move those plastic checkers pieces around.
Like ... winning usually takes sacrifice. Whether it’s giving up a game piece to your opponent in order to capture two of his, or working long hours to get the job done, or even succumbing to emissions testing to have cleaner air, the winners will always have experienced losing something along the way.
And ... no one is going to just let you win. You have to earn it; you have to practice and hone the skills that will bring you the victory. Last year, I crashed and burned in the first round of the tournament, and I learned that I would need to be good enough to actually deserve to win. This year, I certainly didn’t win the tournament, but after some home-grown, Indiana-style tutoring, I actually took down last year’s winner (or maybe it was my good-luck Seattle Seahawks earrings). The solid victory over first-place Wyoming this week by the Aggie basketball team is another great example of this life lesson.
And ... everybody wants to be king. The almost magical ability of a crowned piece to go where he wants is prized by all checkers players. Even novice players like me know that we’re more likely to be successful with a king or two on the board.
And ... you have to follow the rules — even if you’re the king.
We have examples every day, particularly in the sports world, of people who think their rank or achievements place them above the rules. Not so, BoBo! In checkers, if you don’t jump your opponent when you can, your opponent is then entitled to take your game piece. If you kill a massive buck illegally and post the photos on the Internet, you will get caught.
And ... it’s necessary to think ahead, sometimes several moves ahead. The game changes with every move that each player makes, but, as ironic as it may be, if you only play to avoid losing, you will eventually lose. Good sports teams win by anticipating what their opponents will do. People achieve their life goals by planning days, months and years in advance.
And, finally ... don’t give up. It’s not over until it’s over, and your opponent might make a mistake. When last year’s checkers champion had more pieces on the board than I, a voice in the back of my head suggested that I just give up.
Those thoughts come to everyone, but those who don’t give up are often rewarded with success.
Confucius said, “Life is pretty simple, if we don’t insist on making it complicated.” Like the winner of our checkers tournament, you can do pretty well with things if you just keep moving along, quietly doing your best and planning ahead. And it doesn’t hurt to be a highly educated engineer.