The Game we all Must Play

Caleb Black, Staff Writer

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We are always playing a game. This game is always happening, and while there are no direct winners or losers, each one of us is improving or diminishing in our ability to play. The game is with everyone, about anything, and happens anywhere. It can transcend racial, social, geographical, and even personal lines.

This game is called Conversation.

But what many players of this game miss is that this game is not like a snowball fight, but a game of catch.

A great game of catch consists of sending the ball back and forth, going from one person to the other person, and is founded on a mutual need for each other. Unfortunately, too often in today’s world of social media, conversations consist of facts, opinions, and more facts being sent to each other.

But sending information only does so much. It is just half of the equation. If you play catch without catching the ball, it turns into a game of dodgeball with two sides chucking information at each other.

Luckily enough, this dodgeball game can change.

Taking the opinions thrown, considering them, and responding with intent to understand makes the opponent look at your response differently. When these opinions are caught, it is often found that the differences are not as extreme.

Everyone is interested by something in particular, to be a good conversationalist is to take all of those various things and keep a small portion of their enthusiasm for yourself. Take it and bring it to the next conversation. Say “I have a friend that also loves _____, he/she said……”

After many times of listening and learning, a shallow lake of information on many things will have shown up. Then you can dip into that lake and deepen understanding more.

Spread your net of conversation and pick up the various pieces of information that others have given out.

But just as fishing is not always successful, the first few rounds of catch are hard.

You miss the ball, you throw it wrong, and so many things just don’t work. But after a lot of time, you develop the muscles and endurance to catch and throw the ball. Skills at anything, conversation included, come after time and effort.

Communication exists to connect people with ideas, and share the knowledge and perspective that everyone has. Just like playing baseball by yourself turns into juggling, conversation without others turns into narrow mindedness.

Take the time to listen to someone today; learn from them. Then repeat it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

The muscles of this game of catch do come, and when they come they open minds and hearts to all the wonders of those around you.

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