Games people play lead to sharper, crisper minds


“Bingo is not the only game in town!”

Readers responded to my column about surviving a day at bingo. They reminded me that there are many games played by senior residents in Florida. The list from A to Z included: Anagrams, bocce, bridge, Canasta, computer games, dominos, escape rooms, golf, play stations, poker, puzzles and hundreds more.

I quickly noted the value of game activities in extending life. Many brain challenges help ward off dementia, stimulate blood flow and give a person a reason to live another day. The socializing before, during and after games is an added value.

We have been and continue to be challenged by the game of relationships. Children often play one parent against another. They cry, scream, stomp their feet and use other forms of behavior to get what they want. Youthful games involve the desire to win. Parents, coaches, teachers and grandparents often create the “win at any cost” environment.

Dating, courtship and marriage have elements of the game format. In the process of developing a relationship, we aim to win. We each play the role of parent, adult and child (PAC). We switch roles as we interact. Each exchange of words as adults might shift to a parent and child transaction. The adult forced into a child’s position takes on that role and the game begins.

In our residential communities, we have homeowner associations, condo boards, resident councils and clubhouse committees. Elected or appointed officers use “position power” to play games. There might be the “condo cop” who makes rules and enforces them. Noise complaints, water leaks and parking infractions might provoke game playing rather than civil solutions.

Governance of our cities, states and country involves unlimited political games. We watch in amusement. As spectators, we champion those who have similar beliefs and criticize those who have different opinions. We participate with financial support, placards and heated discussions. Some people join groups like “Better Angels” to switch from game playing to find solutions and common ground.

A Reader’s Digest reference to a popular game read: “My wife found out I was cheating on her after she found all the letters I was hiding. She got so mad and said she’s never gonna play Scrabble with me ever again.” The follow-up: “She must have found out about your X.”