I recently spent a Saturday morning in an old-fashioned barber shop playing dominoes with gentlemen three-to-four times my age. At first glance, I realize that statement makes it seem like I’ve lost my mind. To be quite honest, I came for the haircut and I stayed because of a long wait in line. Playing dominoes was a great way to pass the time.
The name of the game was Moon. It is a classic bid, trump, and trick type of game. If you’re reading this, you probably are not all that interested in the actual game play and, quite honestly, it is entirely too complicated for me to explain. But if you’re like me as a person who just likes to know things, the official rules can be found here.
Don’t quit on me just yet. I promise this will not be the dry, boring post you’re expecting after an intro like that. Bear with me for a couple of more paragraphs and judge for yourself. Moon is all about trusting your partner. It is a perfect blend of strategy, teamwork, and luck. As someone who tends to gravitate towards cards, it took me a while to actually understand the methodology and begin to enjoy the game. What I have learned are some great reminders about games and life in general.
You cannot control the hand you’re dealt.
This is a phrase that many people have been told numerous times. Another way of saying it is, “Life’s not fair.” I would like to take this reminder a step further to say that you cannot control the hand that those around you are dealt. It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. When other players begin “showing their hands,” we tend to play for the sake of competing. While this may not sound like a terrible philosophy at first, the game of Moon is significantly more realistic. There is a certain degree of reacting to the pieces that are played, but the advantage comes when you have the ability to lead out with the first play. Having confidence and playing the hand you’re dealt gives you an edge over your competition. You still sometimes lose in those instances, but you learn much more about the way both you and the other people at the table play when you play your hand and not another person’s.
You must trust your partner.
Moon has an unspoken rule: You always bid as if your partner is going to be able to help you out. If your partner cannot help, he/she is not considered a very good partner. This rule is a harsh one to think about, but makes perfect sense as it relates to life. Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” When you help others and trust them to be able to help you, life flows much more easily. I am not advocating naive trust. What I am advocating is a mindset that not everyone is out to get you. When you help others, you will be helped in return. You don’t have to take my word for it. God said in wonderfully in Galatians 6:7. The passage reads, “…whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
These two lessons are constant reminders to approach life with the right attitude. I enjoy the competition. But even more so, I enjoy the lessons learned from competing. Always try your best and you will take something meaningful away. If you’re still with me, I appreciate your patience while I reminisce over a dominoes game. Shoot for the moon. It means you’ll at least be aiming in the right direction.