Crib board #2.jpg 

Yes, I know what you're thinking; 'What's he on about now?! Where's he going with this?!

Admittedly the Headline does seem somewhat strange, even slightly ambiguous (aaargh!). Stay with me!

Okay, let me explain. As a youngster growing up on the farm, my Dad would have to fill in the time between milking the cows first up in the morning, and then milking again after lunch. So we played Crib, or Cribbage to give it its full title.

I'll leave you to Google all about this amazing card game, however in short the idea is to score a total of 121 points before your opponent, hence ending up the ‘Winner’.

The scoring system is brilliant, based on being awarded points every time you and your opponent’s cards equal 15, as laid down face up, in turn, each Round. You can also score points for making pairs; 3 of a kind; even 4 of a kind; as well as for runs of 3 or more consecutive numbered cards.

More points are scored when ‘counting up’ your cards at the end of each Round. Each player also receives a 2nd set of cards, on alternate Rounds, called ‘The Box’, on which to also ‘count up’ at the end of each round.

At the start of each Round, both players would put 2 of their 6 dealt cards into the aforementioned ‘Box’. When it was your 'Box' you threw in 2 cards, that although not the best scoring cards in your hand, might well assist the chance of scoring points in your Box. When not your 'Box' you threw in rubbish cards! 

Each player’s score is recorded on a rectangular board in which was drilled 121 holes, up and down each long side, this of course being known as the ‘Crib Board’, as pictured above.

Fairly complicated as it sounds, once familiar with the concept it all clicks, really helping with mental alertness, not just from an arithmetic perspective!

My Dad and I played Crib a lot, and I mean a lot. I do miss those games of Crib with my Dad!

Anyway, the reason I share this story is that over the weekend I started playing an on-line Crib App and it all came flooding back! 

Okay, now back to the Headline. The ‘life lesson learnt’ was without doubt linked to Mental Arithmetic, however my Dad also introduced a slant on the game of Crib, called ‘The Losing Game’. Yes, your goal was to lose!

So instead of trying to score points yourself, you did your very best to make your opponent score points. Trap your opponent to make 15, or a pair, or a ‘run’. 

As mentioned earlier, each player also receives a 2nd set of cards, on alternate Rounds, called ‘The Box’. However in the losing game, when it was the other player's ‘Box’ you would throw in 2 high scoring cards from your hand, on the off chance they would score 'big time' for your opponent!

In terms of timing, as both players were not trying to score points, then the duration of the game was reduced to the 1st player to score 61 points, being the ‘Loser’.

Okay so what is the life lesson learned?

Simple. There are occasions in life when you can be ‘seen’ to be losing, when in fact you are ‘actually’ winning.

The ‘Double Bluff’ being one such occasion, described as ‘a clever attempt to deceive someone, especially by telling that person the truth when they think you are telling untruths’.

The ‘Double Bluff’ often being utilised by Politicians and Children, often referred to today as ‘reverse psychology’.

However of greater importance is the trait of ‘Humility’, being the ‘quality of having a modest or low view of one's own importance’. Not to be confused with having a low view of one’s self esteem or self-worth.

Just being aware of this at such an early age has not only provided me with a very healthy dose of scepticism regarding things as said or promised by Politicians or Children, but also made me very self-aware of the Power of Humility!

Good on you Cribbage!

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