Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Unplayed Game

My mom Im’d me during a game last night to say hi (given that I still live in the dark ages, have a dial-up connection, and thus, had a busy phone. I sent back a message and told her I would talk to her after the game. When I called her, we talked for a minute about Go. A realization hit me. I first read about Go as a small child, in books from Japan and China, saw it played in Ukiyoe and other paintings, and knew that many of my heroes, such as Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu played the game and loved it. I found a Go set for sale in a book store when I was about 10 –12 years old. I bought it and couldn’t wait to get home to play. Unfortunately, the rules covered nothing but the basics, showed no examples, and left me clueless. My father was a highly intelligent man, loved math, and enjoyed chess. We were both excited about learning, but could find no outside resources. Yes, this was the age before the internet, close to the time when man lived in caves. Heartbroken, I had to abandon my hopes at learning the game. For many years, from move to move, city to city, high school to college, somehow that Go board and stones (plastic) stayed with me. Most things from my childhood got stuffed into the bottom of boxes or were discarded. With me in every apartment, in every new town, somehow that Go board has always been there. Back to the phone, my mom asked what happened with the Go board, and was shocked to find out that not only did I have it, but it was on the couch right in front of me.
I really wish my Dad could be around now to play a few games. When I wanted to explore an idea about the universe, about quantum mechanics, or any wonder of the world, he was always there to listen or challenge any theory I had. He was always quick to shoot holes in any theory I had, and helped me learn to think things through before opening my mouth. He did all of this with kindness. I guess in a way, I carried around the Go board all these years waiting to play the game that will never happen. I feel blessed to be able to play this game and am moved beyond words to be able to have access to so much information about this game, interact with pro and amateur players, and finally challenge my brain again. And as for that game that will never be, I will always keep the Go board around just in case.


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