Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Scrabble religion

This post reminded me of something I have been thinking about a lot recently: Scrabble rituals.

Tournament Scrabble is quite mysterious like many religions. Although widely played socially, is not known as a highly competitive game by many people.

* Scrabblers are often trying to 'convert' people. I am always thinking "who would make a good Scrabble player?"

* Scrabblers have strange meetings where they play a game with strict regulations and guidelines kind of like a church meeting.

* Scrabblers all learn from and recite a strange book, (like the Bible,) which can make or break a Scrabble game.

* Scrabblers have a belief that they will reach enlightenment if they memorize all the top 5000 sevens and eights.

* There are so called Gurus of the game have a strong commitment to the game like a priest's commitment to their religion.

* Some Scrabblers have strange rituals when playing the game. Some have to pick the tiles out of the bag in a certain way. Others have to use lucky charms when playing games.

* A naive young man once said of Scrabble: "It's more than a hobby. It's a way of life really."


vostradamus said...

In Defense of "Living Room Scrabble":
It is depressing that in contemporary American culture every activity, virtually every object becomes assimilated into the capitalist/imperialist framework -- including key features such as fierce competition, goal over process, and reworking the rules to suit the participants (cf. Bush administration on torture). I am one of many excellent Scrabble players who plays for fun; is not especially competitive; finds the type A tournament player mentality antithetical to the recreational essence of the game; and most of all, finds the so-called Official Scrabble Dictionary absurd, with its vast number of words unknown to fluent English speakers. If a letter combination doesn't appear in a standard dictionary, it's not a word -- it's that simple. That's how the game was designed, and that's the way millions of us still play the game. The term "Living Room Scrabble" is presumably meant to be belittling; I find it ennobling, and a far superior alternative to "Bunker Room Scrabble", which is my just-invented sobriquet for the tournament mentality.

I'd love to find or create a website exclusively for Living Room Scrabblers.

Dawn Summers said...

No disrespect to livingroom Scrabblers. I'm pretty sure that except for children of experts, we all started out that way. We all love the game no matter what level you play.

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