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What does winning really look like?

Each year in our business we have a theme. It usually surrounds the big year end performance and sometimes it surrounds our team efforts, goals and mission to serve our community of Hamilton and the surrounding areas the best we can.

Some may look at our performance themes and think “Wow, that is fun!”, and not look beyond it. Many may hear a theme and think that all there is to it is what meets the eye. This is, with our themes year after year they literally serve our mission. Our mission of life.  Our mission of building champions. Our mission of letting kids be kids. Our mission is to use the arts to change lives, save lives, impact lives and bring joy to lives. 

          This year our theme is games…I know it’s so fun! We have thought of every game you can think of from the new technology ones, back to the oldies but goodies. Of course the topical reason is the FUN you have when playing games. It holds the memories of your child’s birthday parties, family game nights, sibling/cousin rivalries, and moments when you didn’t need all the approval of anyone. You could spend hours by yourself lost in the whimsical moment of time alone with your imagination.  

    If you look at the other side of games beyond the fun, many times we loved it not because it was fun but because it tapped a competitive side of you that made winning taste like victory and losing pushed you to say “let’s go another round”. If you weren’t sure how to play you would sit out the first round and then jump both feet in without the worry of others perceptions because the reality is, everyone is only worried about one thing-themselves and winning. I mean why else would you play games and go into a battle of Twister right?  

     The title of games like Life, Monopoly, Donkey Kong, Apples to Apples, Hungry Hippo, Operation, Mall Madness, UNO, Go Fish, Clue all have a lesson. Counting, clues, comprehension, financial awareness, real estate, creativity and the list goes on!  You know why we picked the theme of games though? Well stick with me and I’ll tell you why….

They teach you patience: I mean have you ever had to block out a full hour to just build the thing and read the directions? If you are my age you may need to break out the reading glasses LOL!  If you are a kid you either take the time to read them or come up with your own amended version of the games. How many times have you said, “ Well when I was a kid THIS is how we played it….”. As we move forward in life let’s remember-we never waited to understand the game fully and be 100% confident before we jumped into play. We just jumped both feet in the fun and if we lost we learned to do it better the next time.

They teach you strategy: Life is about living but living to your fullest potential is all about the strategy.  Do you see opportunity before it comes? Are you willing to sacrifice in the moment to gain much more in the end? Are you able to put aside your feelings for other players, good or bad, to keep the point in focus at hand, which is HOW DO YOU WIN? Everytime you lost, you reflected…probably in the corner somewhere with your arms crossed eating pixie sticks , giving attitude to whoever crossed your path and your sibling that won—you were CERTAIN THEY CHEATED;). So what did you do? You reflected and you thought of a strategy. Strategy is when you plan to never let whatever you didn’t like happen again—that makes you a fool.

They teach you not to take yourself so seriously:  At the end of the day we are all running our OWN RACE. The reality is, we get caught up looking to see who is running next to us, beside us and behind us. We spend all that time looking around and we trip and fall. Games teach us to laugh at ourselves. They teach us you can always play again, try again, start again.  They teach you that you can ask for help and look for mentors. Look for the people who teach you strategy but they also teach you to play the games that make you enjoy YOUR AGE where you are at. My dad will be the spinner in Twister cause he’s definitely not splitting but you would think he is the one on the mat! My mom will let the little one win everytime and live by watching them light up.  

This year you will see the fun, hear the memories, even talk at dinner after the show about which games brought back memories, but let’s not forget the real value is what did you learn when social media wasn’t a thing. What did you have the courage to do when losing the race you decided to join didn’t end up so well.  What secret tip or strategy did you learn that you end up passing on as true mentors to help others succeed and the list goes on!

So this year I encourage you to look at life as a board game. An old worn one, filled with wisdom, passed down from generation to generation waiting to make new memories. If we are lucky enough we will get the chance to be kids and not take ourselves too seriously and show these young ones how winning was “Really done back in our day.”

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