This I Believe

Allison - Danville, California
Entered on November 13, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I live my life like a game of Scrabble.

My affinity for words showed itself early. Stashed in my mother’s armoire are home videos of me reading aloud before the age of three, and as soon as I could read I would not allow anyone else to read to me. I remember kneeling at the family room coffee table, copying sentences out of books. Why this provided me amusement or enjoyment, I’ll never know. All I can gather from this memory is my utter enthusiasm for language.

Naturally, I was and am always up for the occasional game of Scrabble. Not only is Scrabble great because it is the game of making words – Scrabble requires playing off of others’ moves, using strategy, and making the best out of every situation.

In Scrabble, I can only look at my letters and the letters that my opponents have put on the board. While I can’t alter anyone else’s letters, I can put down my own, using their moves to my advantage and possibly giving them the letters that they will use for their next word. In life, I can never control what others do, but I have total control over my actions.

Placed throughout the board are squares that double or triple the score of either the word or the letter placed on them. I have to think strategically and plan if I want to make use of these. Life similarly requires this thinking ahead.

Most of what I am able to do in Scrabble is determined by the letters I blindly pull out of the bag. Selecting the letters is cheating, so, as in life, I am dealt a random hand. Though I can’t do much of anything about what letters I have to work with, I can be creative and resourceful in using them. Rarely used letters such as Q and Z rack up more points than, for example, A or S. The uncommon letters are more difficult to use, but the reward is much greater. Perhaps this is yet another metaphor for life – hard work yields rewards.

I believe in Scrabble.