We don’t get very many channels on our television. It could be (in fact, I know it is) that we only have a TV antenna to bring in reception.

Sweetheart and I refuse to buy cable, pay exorbitant prices each month and still not get the channels we want. We might as well stick with the antenna and not get the channels we want. There are five programs I like to watch, however, and Sweetheart likes to watch documentaries. As a result, there are many nights, when we’re not dancing, that there is nothing on television that we believe is worth our valuable time.

As a result, we play games. We play card games, dice games and Domino games. We rotate them, so we don’t get bored and resort to flipping through the channels on the TV. Well, there are times when Sweetheart wins the game and times when I win the game. Sometimes, one of us is on a roll. Well, a couple of weeks ago, Sweetheart was on a roll. It seemed that he won every game, sometimes without even trying. I was getting discouraged. I was getting more than discouraged. I was becoming despondent. I was becoming depressed. I was even becoming cynical.

I started to think the cards were stacked against me, but I watched him deal. I watched how I dealt. Everything seemed to be on the up-and-up. Soon, I thought there was no point in even trying. Sweetheart would win anyway. I would just throw out my card and watch him use it to his advantage. I figured my biorhythm was off and his was up and there was nothing that could be done about it.

After a few nights of this behavior, I began to look back on some of the plays I had made. I realized that, in my discouragement and despondency and depression, I was overlooking some plays that would have been to my advantage. If I had made those plays I might have even been able to win a game or two. Well, darn! What could I do? It was too late to go back and replay those games. I would just have to play from a different viewpoint.

So, a couple of nights later, we started game night. I sat up in my seat and looked my opponent in the eye. I approached the night with an air of confidence. I won the first game. I won the second game. Then it was bedtime and I let Sweetheart mull over what had just transpired. The next night it happened all over again. I won one game after another. Victory was sweet.

Then I saw the look of dejection on Sweetheart’s face. It was the same face I’m sure I had exhibited all of those times when I lost. Suddenly, winning didn’t seem that important. I just wanted to have fun.

Even though I enjoy playing just as much as winning, I learned a valuable lesson about keeping my wits about me, even when the chips are down. Don’t let emotions get in the way of strategy.

(Dorothy Knight Burchett is a former newspaper columnist and the author of “Miles and Miracles,” available at Pokeberry Exchange in New Castle and on Amazon.)

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