Preferring diplomacy over victory, I’m generally not very competitive. You know the type of people who turn as red as ripe tomatoes from participating in a certain activity or sporting event? The ones who are filled with the burning desire to crush their opponents into the ground? The ones that will not rest until they return victorious? Yeah, not me.
Most of the things that I enjoy doing don’t require an aggressive display or quick wit to best my opponent. For instance, I don’t need to wrest a pencil out of someone’s hand to write my thoughts down. Or when I’m at the library, I don’t have to race to the nearest bookshelf to ensure that I secure the highest-quality literature. Like I said, doesn’t really happen.
In spite of my generally easy-going nature, there is one activity that gets me particularly fired up. What is it? Something actually hardcore? you may be asking yourself. Is it boxing? No. Far too much blood. Wrestling? Eh, doesn’t really appeal to me either. Football? In spite of all of the hype it receives, I can’t bring myself to sit down and watch it. Then what?! What could possibly inspire a competitive streak from you! Monopoly.
No really, I’m being entirely serious. Monopoly, the popular board game that promotes the expansion of monopolistic firms on several colorful squares, is enough to make me shout over other players, tauntingly wave my Monopoly money in the air, obsessively hoard property cards, and secretly confer with some of my opponents to gain a monetary advantage.
My intense zeal for Monopoly started innocently enough. Striving to establish a sort of game night, my parents and I had gathered around a classic Monopoly board one evening. We picked out our silver coated pieces and immediately started a game up, each rolling to see how far we would go.
As a novice, I made numerous mistakes that would make a seasoned player groan in exasperation. For instance, in efforts to amass a large quantity of Monopoly money, I obstinately refused to purchase whatever estates I landed on. Reading railroad? Wow, that’s expensive. Who needs it? I tossed the opportunity to make an extraordinary amount of money aside. The Electric Company? Nah. Waterworks? Someone else can have that.
It was only after I had paid my parents a fortune in Monopoly dollars did I begin to understand the concept of the game. In order to be financially successful and collect from other players, I would have to invest in public property. I would have to sacrifice a little money in the present in order to receive greater returns in the future. Investment! The notion struck me like lightning.
From that moment on, I began purchasing property like a fiend. Boardwalk? You’re mine! Marvin Gardens! New York Avenue! St. Charles Place! I felt the Monopoly bills flying from my hands in my mindless efforts to reimburse the bank.
Just as I was on the verge of declaring board game bankruptcy, something miraculous occurred. My mother landed on my electric company.
Wide-eyed and grinning, I asked her for my $120, which she grudgingly handed over. I’d just had my first taste of financial success, and that was something I wouldn’t let go of very easily.
About an hour later, I had made a surprising comeback, having piles of Monopoly money at my feet. While I did feel a little bad for taking money from my parents, wasn’t the entire point of the game to establish a monopoly?