Love The Game

Dog-Dog-Dog in the joy of the pursuit

Dog-Dog-Dog in the joy of the pursuit

Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog likes to chase bumblebees. He snaps at them in an attempt to catch them. He never catches them but that does not deter his endless attempts or the glee of his pursuit. He loves the chase. He loves it.

Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog also loves to be chased. He only requires something to carry, something to claim that makes the chase necessary. Any stick will do. I walk to the center of the yard, pick up the most available stick, he takes it from my hand and races away. My job is to give chase (as I pursue the Dog-Dog, I say again and again, “Give me my stick!” as if the stick was mine. Such is the power and grace of the human imagination!) Wild-eyed and joyful, he races around the yard at Mach speed, a bumblebee to my snapping dog. I never catch him but that does not deter the glee of my pursuit.

Dog-Dog is teaching me the secret to a joyful life. It is simple: love the chase. It is the glee of the pursuit. As James Carse wrote in Finite and Infinite Games, the point of the game is not to win but to continue the play. The point is to become a better and better player. In an infinite game, winning is not an outcome, it is a way of being. The point is to love playing.

I am grateful that Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog leaps for bees that are nearly impossible to catch. I am grateful that Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog runs from me even though he knows I will never catch him. When I am too tired to continue the chase, he drops the stick and circles back to where I stand huffing and puffing, ready to give him a few pets. His entire body wags with delight. His eyes shine with the thrill of the game and I laugh at his unbridled enthusiasm. He teaches me without using a single word. When I’ve caught my breath, I’ve learned to say, “Hey! Where’s my stick!” Picking any twig from the ground, he snatches it from my hand and we are off and running.

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2 Responses

  1. My dog does the same with yellow jackets, but unfortunately she’s pretty good at catching them. I hate it when she’s successful because I feel bad for both of them. It’s quite a spectacle to watch her angrily trying to chew the thing up as it stings the inside of her mouth… lots of buzzing, snorting, growling, thrashing… I feel bad, but it’s also hilarious!

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