Anna Nugent

Perhaps this title is a bit of a misnomer, because it isn’t just the fun of Farkel — and don’t get me wrong, it is very fun — but the spirit in which you play that makes it so joyful. For those of you not in the know (I played it for the first time this week), Farkel is a dice game. It involves 6 dice and however many players you like. We played to 10,000 points, best of 3; however there are so many alternatives and variations that there is no end to the possibilities for play.

And this is the cincher, play. When you approach any game with the goal of playing, spending time together, having fun, it takes on a whole new life. Many people feed off of competition, but I have found, in myself, that the more I can detach from the results, the more joy and pleasure I have in the playing. We still score the game, there are still “winners” and “losers” and your risk-taking may result in failure or great success; however, we are not tied to the results. There is a celebration of the game itself. In one way or another, competition closes us off to possibilities, it generates feelings of superiority and inferiority, of being enough or not being enough, it sets you up to take the results of the competition personally. In the past year I’ve seen that for me competition is the opposite of how I want to live and who I want to be. When there is no competition, there is a space then for something else to emerge and that is the joyous and pure sense of play. It also allows me to celebrate other’s wins wholeheartedly as their win never takes away from me or my possibilities.

Seeing an old friend who truly embraces the joy of play in all of life and being taught by her to play Farkel allowed me to be so unattached to the results that I actually won the game, but the enjoyment for me was in the playing, the ‘natural farks’ and the massive scoring rolls and sharing it with two of the loveliest human beings. I was a winner either way!

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