Monday, November 16, 2009

The Art of Cheating

You may be the most cunning individual the world has ever seen, but it is a sad fact of life that all the sneakiness you have spent a lifetime cultivating is encapsulated in your DNA. Which means that when it comes to outwitting you, your offspring always hold the upper hand.

Offspring such as Gavin (my 4 year old). He and I have enjoyed running together of late. Last week we tore around the Mueller trails, taking some time out to play on the swings and exploring some of the sculptures. Then this weekend we decided we would have a "race around the neighborhood".

Running with kids is a whole lot of fun because it's completely unstructured. It's kind of like fartleks - you point to an object in the distance, be it a tree or a streetlight or a stop sign, and you race to it. And that's what we did - we split out race up into stages, with whoever won the previous stage getting to choose the next checkpoint.

But it swiftly became apparent that Gavin has mastered the ancient Welsh art of cheating (that's my boy). He has good speed on him, but he has also discovered a knack for blocking, shirt tugging and the liberal use of elbows. And I do admit I am not completely innocent, as there was cheating a-plenty happening on both sides (I must have looked a right sight bounding along in my Vibrams while yelling things like "daddy's going to get you").

So Gavin won the first section, then I made it interesting by winning stage 2. Gavin retook the lead on stage 3, which ended at a "stop" sign and saw some of the worst cheating of the whole race.

That left the final stage which ended back at the house. We took off, but Gavin seemed to lose interest halfway there. He started walking, and eventually he sat down on the sidewalk. I stopped and asked if he was ok and he told me to "just go on and win, daddy".

We were only 50 yards or so from the house, so I did. And then I walked back to him.

"It was a draw - 2 stages each - but you did really well" I said. "We'll have to race again tomorrow".

He nodded and reached his hand up. I grabbed it and pulled him to his feet.

And he immediately sprinted off yelling "extra stage".

I took off after him and the sly old fox was laughing his head off at having fooled me as he rounded the front yard, ran up the driveway and tagged the front door over my protests of dirty rotten cheating.

What followed was a shameful display of gloating and smack talking, finished off with a smug "better luck next time daddy" as he disappeared inside.

I could hear his victory celebrations from outside - "mummy, nanna, grandpa, I whipped daddy and he's a bad loser".

Hmmm, I want a rematch :-)

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