by Mitch Lee
When I was a junior high student there was a small group of us who enjoyed playing role-playing games.
Speaking from my nerdy side, I’m saying that 35 years ago Leo, David, Robbie, Jeff, and myself would meet at Leo’s house in White Lake to play an afternoon game of Dungeons and Dragons.
I think what brought us together was our common interest in having a club.
Clubs or special groups like ours were not something I had even considered before.
But I loved games, and I loved that this game allowed us to use our artistic skills to draw up our characters.
I think I enjoyed the creation of a fantasy world as I laid it down in pen and ink more than the game itself.
I could put my skills to the test as I tried to make each of my friends’ faces and mannerisms appear in the image of a cloaked character with sword and a bag filled with magic items.
I spent many afternoons drafting the monsters and rooms that we might use while Leo spent the same amount of time creating maps of an underground world using his love of engineering.
With the various other skills of the other club members we were able to create a magical world to enjoy for five or six hours.
Our club had no real name and even the membership changed from time to time.
But the core group of nerds remained to slay wizards and monsters and enjoy each other’s company.
In this club no one person was the leader. We were all equals in the game and as a group we had to solve whatever problems came our way.
It was the first time in my life that I was on a team of intellectuals trying to solve a problem.
It seems silly to think that a game could teach any life skills but it did teach us how to work together and solve problems.
Today as I walk through my woods I often wonder if, as adults, we still retain the skills we mastered as children playing games; to sort our fairness and rules that were just and made our days enjoyable.
I reflect on the nature of today’s politics and politicians who find no common ground in fairness or rules that will move our lives in a more positive direction.
As adults, when did so many lose the ability to listen to the ideas of others and have a good discussion about the best possible practice and outcome.
I think we are all now in a club…the adult club.
Sometimes I feel like I enjoy the old quote by Groucho Marx, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
But I continue to listen and participate to make a better place for my club every day.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org