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word wars

June 19, 2004 — Leave a comment

i`ve been a scrabble player since i can remember. my mother had that tiny travel scrabble that we used to take on the plane and she used to whoop my ass coming and going.

just after i got into high school we discovered a scrabble club in Port of Spain and thus began my experiences in competitive scrabble and my ability to beat my mother.

one of the keys to my skills was the two and three letter word list, the weekend after we received the list, i record all the words on a cassette and went to sleep one sunday afternoon, my young and impressionable mind retained it all.

since then i`m played with some regularity, not every friday like i used to tagging along with my mother to the scrabble club. i lost contact with the people in the club as i grew older and found less geeky past times, or so i thought.

i used to play occasionally, not with the skill and knowledge i used to as a younger man. scrabble is a game based on knowledge of language and like all language it`s ever evolving. i tried playing at a tournament last year and had my ass handed to me by a young man; who in a number of years will be in the same place i was sitting across the board from him, wondering what happened to all the skills he had. it was nice to see some of the faces i had grown up with.

scrabble i`ve come to realise holds a strange place in the geek hierarchy. there is no scrabble port for the mac, but i have a version i bought for the palm which i play with some regularity. and since i`ve been here, i`ve managed to get quite a few games in, i`ve kept my winning ways to some extent, but vic who shares my passion for words is a skilled player; not necessarily relying on the two and three letter words but her food vocabulary; and in recent days has managed not just beat me, but soundly trounce me on more than one occasion.

Word Wars is unflattering documentary on competitive scrabble, which is opening soon at the independent theatre here. i want to see this film. it may not be as charitable or understanding as Stephan Fastis` Word Freak but i feel an affinity to the people in this movie. i know who they are because they are the same people featured in the book, even though the book and movie are only related by their choice of subject matter. the other reason i want to see this movie is that i haven`t found a sanctioned scrabble club in Nashville, yet and i`m sure this movie is guaranteed to draw all of of us word freaks out of the woodwork.