My mother loved watching "Wheel of Fortune."
Every weekday evening between 6:30 and 7 p.m., I knew that I would find her at home watching TV.
She almost thought that Pat Sajak and Vanna White were personal friends of hers.
Many days I would call during that show to talk to her because I knew she would be in her apartment watching the wheel spin.
Since she died several years ago, I have taken over watching the wheel for her. I have a DVR so I can record the show and play it back when I want to. But, I've found that I enjoy watching Pat and Vanna myself. I find it to be exciting when a contestant wins big, and I rejoice with them.
We Americans really enjoy our games. Whether it is a game show on TV, on a regular broadcast station or on the Game Show Network; or a game on a gaming system, such as X-Box or Game Boy; or a game on our computers or iPads or on our phones, we love to play games.
I grew up playing board games. There was Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Operation, Clue, Life, Monopoly, Risk, Chess, Checkers, Pictionary, Boggle, Yahtzee, and Backgammon.
We play all sorts of card games, like: Go Fish, Slap Jack, Rummy, Whist, Canasta, Spades, Hearts, Gin, Bridge, Pinochle, Rook, Uno, and Poker in its many forms.
We watch our favorite sports teams play a football game, or a basketball game, or baseball, softball, soccer or hockey. Many of us play those games ourselves.
I have a nephew who is a professional golfer. He has designed and managed golf courses, written books on golf, and now he spends his days teaching others to golf. As far as Brad is concerned golf is the only game to play.
My friends, Martha Hitt and Joellen Mallard, join a group of women every week to play Dominoes, either Train or Chickenfoot. They are a faithful bunch to get together for fun and fellowship, and they even have a name for their group of gamers. They are the Domino Divas.
My granddaughters love to play the games I have downloaded for them on my iPad. Charli, who will soon be four, can sit and play one game for an extended period of time. But, Kori, who is 19 months, will jump from one game to another in a manner of seconds.
Some of the highlights of the week for many residents of our local nursing homes and assisted living centers are the Bingo games that are played. Prizes are given to the winners, and whether it is money or candy or a personal hygiene item, those prizes are cherished by the recipients.
My grandmother loved the Bingo games at her nursing home. If anyone stopped in to visit while Bingo was being played, she would insist they come back "after Bingo." She would measure her day as "before Bingo" and "after Bingo."
We love our games.
All throughout life we play games. From infancy on through adulthood, we learn to love our games.
Benjamin Franklin said, "Games lubricate the body and the mind." We grow as a person through the games that we play.
Someone once said that life is a game and we spend all of our years learning to play it.
Another person said, "The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity."
The wonderful thing about this "game called life," is that we can have the Heavenly Father as our coach, and in so doing we can be on the winning team.
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at email@example.com.