Thursday, 3 February 2011

More than just a game.

Once upon a time, my Father taught me to play Draughts.

He explained the moves,
forwards not back,
diagonal not straight,
jump over a piece to take it,
get to the other side to be King'd
then become all-powerful and move all ways.
And we played our game,
our one-sided game,
as I floundered without strategy or purpose.
He did his best to let me win
but his task was hopeless.

And time passed by ...

And we played again, my Father and I.
I had an idea of what I was doing but lacked skill.
It was no longer annihilation.
Bless him he tried to let me win.
Sharp intakes of breath accompanied with
eyebrows raised as if to say "are you sure?"
"You'll regret that"
"Not the best move you can make"
as he did all he could to steer me towards victory.
Yes, I won but he worked hard to accomplish it.

And time passed by ...

And we played again, my Father and I.
I was confident in my strategy,
yet play as good as I could
his skills were greater than mine.
No false victories now.
No quarter spared.
No hints given.
Man against man
and the better man won.

And time passed by ...

And we played again, my Father and I.
It was close.
Very close.
Sometimes he would win,
sometimes I would win.
Single Kings chasing each other,
trying to win,
trying not to lose,
trying to avoid stalemate
yet preferring it to defeat.
Two opponents equally matched.

And time passed by ...

And we played again, my Father and I.
He was confident in his strategy yet
play as good as he could
my skills were greater than his.
No false victories now.
No quarter spared.
No hints given.
Man against man
and the better man lost.

And time passed by ...

And we played again, my Father and I.
He had an idea of what he was doing but lacked skill.
Not annihilation but close
as I tried to let him win.
Sharp intakes of breath accompanied with
eyebrows raised as if to say "are you sure?"
"You'll regret that"
"Not the best move you can make"
as I did all I could to steer him towards victory.
Yes, he won but I worked hard to accomplish it.

And as time passes by ...

I hope we will play again, my Father and I.
Could it be that I shall need to explain the moves?
Forwards not back,
diagonal not straight,
jump over a piece to take it,
get to the other side to be King'd
then become all-powerful and move all ways.
And shall we play our game,
our one-sided game,
as he flounders without strategy or purpose.
I will do my best to let him win
but will my task be hopeless?

Playing Draughts with my Father is more than just a game.


Written with deep affection for a great man.



1 comment:

  1. John what a beautiful tribute to a man that you hold very dear. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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