Cribbage – A Lesson in Life
Nothing can make you feel smart and stupid at same time like cribbage. Cribbage requires a combination of strategy, intuition and luck. I would say it is 50% luck and 50% a combination of the other two. For those of you who have never heard of the game, cribbage is a card game where scores are kept using a wooden board and pegs. Points are earned by card combinations adding up to 15, along with the usual pairs, runs and flushes. The game is completed when the first player reaches 121 points, marked as the finish line on the peg board. As in life, one must gain patience, develop cunning, sharpen wits and above all, learn to be a gracious loser.
It can be quite a rollercoaster ride for someone like Il-Nam, my work partner, who has just learned to play; and for me; who has played before but is rather rusty. Playing cribbage together, Il-Nam and I have become more relaxed and comfortable. The language difficulties are no longer an issue, and even those that crop up are easily handled. We laugh, shout, and compare strategies. Cribbage has become an event to anticipate; a small diversion from collecting and processing ocean water samples.
A cribbage tournament is presently in session with 24 contestants from both the ship and science crews. The tournament consists of six groups of four players. Within each group, each contestant plays the others in his/her group twice. The two players with the lowest total scores (winner gets zero score in the match), move to the knockout round. So far, the rollercoaster has been operating at high speed with some first-time players beating experienced players, and some experienced players trouncing their equals. The overall winner, collecting $5 from each contestant, is strongly encouraged to spend the prize at a club in Tahiti, buying a round of beers for all!
We will fill you in on the results later, so be sure to check back with us.