Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sore Loser

Alexander is a sore loser.

There, I said it. It's done. I'm not ashamed to say that about my son. And in some ways, I am proud to say it. He takes losing about as well as I do...and that, for those that know me, know I absolutely HATE to lose...anything.

That's not to say I won't take a loss gracefully. In my 30s, I learned that losing meant I learned something about myself. In my 20s, I knew that, but I let the hatred of losing burn inside of me, and that led to disaster...many, many times.

Alex learned something that, I think, he obtained genetically from his mother and from me. He learned how to trash talk.

Trash talk, of course, is the art of verbal retaliation. It's designed to make yourself feel better, and intimidate your opponent. It's either subtle, or blunt. Take a guess which side Alex learned.

Let's backup a few days. I bought a Nintendo Wii this weekend. I'd been kicking around the idea for a while, because Alex can play games with me. For a 5 year old, a Wii offers methods of play that allow him interact more and concentrate less on button patterns. Also, he's familiar with the Wii -- his grandparents and his mother both have one.

I also bought the new game Wii Sports Resort, the third title in the Nintendo Wii sports games series. This game includes archery, table tennis, air sports, and the most popular sport at my house -- Swordplay.

There are three levels of play in Swordplay. First, you dual against another opponent (Wii or another person), the objective being to knock your opponent off the platform and into the ocean below, while a crowd of people cheer you on. Or, in some cases, laugh at you. The second level is unlocked after your first win, which is Speed Slice. In Speed Slice, you slice objects in half using a specific direction. When the object lands in front of you, an arrow denotes the direction of the slice. Do this before your opponent, and in the correct direction, and you win that round. The first to win 10 rounds wins. The third level is you against...well, a lot of Mii's. You wipe out as many Mii's as you can, up to all of them, before your three hearts are dispatched by a direct hit from another sword.

(Sidebar: A Mii is a character for the Wii. You create one for yourself, and other people that play on your console create one. It's tied to statistics about the Resort games, and other purely Nintendo created games. Each Nintendo created game comes with a bunch of these)

Level 1 is easy enough to play, and I got to pro level in about 2 hours time. Alex learned very quickly, but he could not learn to block. Blocking in this game requires you hold the B button, which is the forefinger\trigger button on the Wii remote. Learn to use this button properly, and it gets you further than simply hacking and slashing.

OK, so to the sore loser bit. Alex and I dualed, and we Speed Sliced. I beat him several times. OK, I beat him a lot, but I also let him win several times. I can't help it, I play to win. See where he gets it? A couple of times, he got a few good moves in and beat me fairly, without me letting him win. But mostly, he lost, and he hated it. The first time, he tossed the controller on the floor and stomped off to the couch. I scolded him for throwing around a controller, especially with Hayden crawling around the floor or sitting near us to watch. When he won, though, it was happy dances and happy trash talk. When he lost, though, it was fists balled up, and proclaiming what I call Alex's Declaration: "Oooo, this makes me VERY unhappy!".

So, after losing a few rounds, he calmed down, looked me straight in the eye, and said "You see this controller? THIS one is for winning. Yours? Losing."

Wow...strong words for a 5 year old, but impressive. He has drive and spirit. I love it...



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