Playing games — you win some, you lose some

Playing games is fun, and it also serves to keep the mind sharp.

A friend of mine happened to mention he was having a good week.

“I won $7 playing bingo at my residence last night,” he bragged. I told him I was happy for him, but he replied, “Well, not everyone was happy, some of those people take bingo pretty seriously and didn’t think I should have won.”

Hey, it’s only bingo, what was the issue here? It seems my friend is what he refers to as a social player. He attends for the conversation and the companionship, and this really annoys the ‘combat-hardened’ number stampers.

“One lady was sitting beside me playing my card as much as she was hers because apparently I wasn’t paying attention. She suddenly yelled ‘Bingo’ and when I turned to congratulate her she pointed to my card. It was me who had one, but I hadn’t noticed. But she didn’t congratulate me, she got up and moved.”

The University of Southampton psychology department actually did a study on bingo and bingo players. I wonder how much some professors got paid for that project?

The tests conducted revealed that bingo players were more accurate and faster in tests that measured memory, mental speed and their ability to absorb information from the environment around them, than those who did not play the game. Younger players were faster but older ones were more accurate.

Researchers insist that bingo keeps the mind sharp and equates this as especially important to people as they get older. That’s a good theory, but my friend walked away with the seven bucks.

Then you have the group that argue that bingo is just another form of gambling. Certainly, there are some people that unfortunately lose a lot of cash at bingo halls.

People will say, “Just play for fun or small prizes, it will be just as good a time.” But in reality, only half the people would show up.

I’m not competitive in any board games. I enjoy the banter back and forth between the players and regularly have to be told it’s my turn. I can’t remember when I last won a game of crib or checkers, and chess is just too much work for my brain.

But I’ve always had fun and often I’m the one suggesting we drag out Trivial Pursuit or the crib board.

Board games have long fascinated as mirrors of intelligence, skill, cunning, and wisdom. They have been the topic of many scientific studies.

A systematic study of psychology and board games covers topics such as perception, memory, problem solving and decision making, development, intelligence, emotions, motivation and education.

I enjoy playing the big game of life, knowing that some days I will win and some I will lose. And if, in my later years, I have someone sitting beside me playing my card while I tell a joke or two, that makes me a winner.

At least that’s what McGregor says.