I Believe in Two
On either side of the crowded battlefield, separated only by two insubstantial lakes in the middle, the generals face each other. On one side, on the anxious but determined faces of Hayes and McClellan, one can read fear and can almost see the wheels turning as they finalize their weak strategies. But across the board General Lee is confident and sure. A knowing smile constantly playing around her mouth, her plan is set as she eyes her prey, preparing herself for the victory she knows is coming.
This is the same scenario I face virtually every day of break, any weekend my friends and I can find the time, and any other spare moment we can pull together to play Stratego, the “classic game of battlefield strategy,” where the aim is to capture the opponents flag on a ranked battlefield filled with bombs and enemies. Catherine is the Lee to my McClellan and Michelle’s Hayes; we’ve never yet beaten her. She whips around the board, preying on our defenseless pieces, taking the valuable nines and tens we felt so confident about by means we still can’t figure out. If we didn’t know better (and we’re not entirely sure we do), we would swear she is clairvoyant; we have yet to see her hit a bomb.
We fight tirelessly to beat the seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s as if it is coded in her DNA – dominate. She is ruthless and determined; she refuses to put us out of our misery, instead taunting us as she chases us around the board, taking everything but the flag, saving it for a more climactic ending. She makes us play to the bitter end, where one sad two or three, cold and alone, is left victim to her vicious strategy. And with that one final move and the telltale gleam in her eye, we fail again.
But a day later we’re back in the same spots, playing the same game. We refuse to give in or give up, and no matter what it takes we are determined to keep trying. It’s an almost religious and fanatical obsession to defeat her. I know that in life you can’t give up, you have to work for what you want, because nothing comes easily. You have to believe that what you want can be yours or you will never get there. Michelle’s sole aim in life is to beat Catherine with a two, the lowest ranking piece, to do the impossible. And while I’m not sure that day will ever come, I believe in two.