The Ultimate Player

While I was lying in bed watching TV, my 6-year-old son, N, walked into my bedroom carrying his game case.

“Daddy,” he said. “Will you play checkers with me?”

“Sure, son.” I said. “Set up the board.” After hearing my response, my 8-year-old daughter, Nee, ran to my bedside.

“Daddy,” she complained. “Why don’t you ever play checkers with me?”

“Because you never ask,” I said. N always asks for whatever he wants. Sometimes he asks incessantly. Nee on the other hand rarely asks for what she wants and gets upset when we grant some of N’s requests.

photo by MrPessimist via Flickr

“Can I play the winner?” she asked.

“Of course you can, dear,” I said.

N jumped on on my bed and set up the pieces. Nee sat beside him to offer him some sideline coaching. The game was going fine until N started cheating. He often resorts to cheating when he is losing. I told N that I would not play with a cheater. He immediately stopped, but started lamenting the fact that he was losing.

“Daddy,” he complained. “You always beat me. I never win.”

“Keep playing,” I said. “You’ll get better.”

The game ended with my king taking his last checker.

“My turn,” yelled Nee. She set up the board and we commenced. Nee made a few strategic moves that impressed me and I let her know that she was playing well.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “I know you’re going to win.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I said. “If you keep playing like that you might win.” I never lose to my kids on purpose, but this time I decided to let Nee win to give her a confidence boost. When she earned her first king, I knew that she was feeling good about herself. She started picking off my checkers one-by-one.

I was down to my last checker and Nee had two kings and several other pieces left on the board. I moved my checker into her king’s path and watched as she joyful grabbed the victory.

Both kids were shocked that I lost. N had to let his mother know about this stunning turn of events.

“Mommy, mommy,” N yelled. “Nee just beat the ultimate player.”

Stay Strong,

Question: Do you ever intentionally let your kids win games?

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at