"We're Still In The Game"
"We're still in the game." If you haven't heard this then I know you haven't actually spent any considerable amount of time with my dad. It is a metaphor for life based on the game of chess, a place and a world that makes perfect sense to him. Ever since that first phone call, when I was about 21 years old, all our correspondences since have started with those same five words.
I think he would prefer a world that operated on the principles of chess. Where everything followed order, rules and where ones moves are based upon documented universal and predictable outcomes...just like I would prefer that everything somehow related to fishing, the answer would always be more fishing.
I don't play chess myself and being that it is a serious endeavor for him, we thought it would be good to find some people who held it every bit as sacred as he did, or at least really liked it. As much as we like to think that it is the thought that counts, it is much more preferable to act, and my wife knew that our thoughts would not create an opponent.
She very kindly and relentlessly looked for places where he would be able to have such kinship and our first attempt with a group at a library ended with a very sad Franklin. We drove a long way and no one showed up to play. He looked devastated, and that was when I realized that to him this was fishing. Even though we know it's a form of sacrilege to think that one can honestly compare the two (😂), nonetheless, this chess game was important to him.
I told Meagan that no one showed up and she went back to the drawing board. Apparently chess folk are a rare breed in these parts of Osceola county, so my wife had to reach out to a group of retirees at a Senior Center in Clermont. This worked out well with over a dozen participants, a 40 and 90 year old for groupies, and some tough competition. He played for several hours and then came out like a new man, invigorated from battle and happy to find some like minds, it was a skip in his step, a chance to do what he loved.
The competition had to be pretty good because on Monday the chess book and board both came out, strategies were reviewed and preparations made, come Saturday there will be a reckoning for sure, but just know this, that whatever happens, Franklin will still be, "in the game."