Saturday, June 13, 2009


Calvinball is a fictional game played by the protagonists in the comic-strip Calvin & Hobbes. What is peculiar about this game is that the rules keep changing constantly. All the players don't even have to agree on the rules... :)

Even though people don't realize it, everybody is playing Calvinball, all the time. In fact, it could be the most popular sport on the planet; Calvinball is Life itself. Change is constant, and we adjust. Especially nowadays, I'm sure there are many particularly evil games of Calvinball being played the world over, with a refrain of "That was then, this is now. I'm sorry, but...."

Times might be tough and you might be desperate for a win. But you must never change the rules such that Calvinball ceases to be a game. Players, even pros, play a game not just for the money but also as a part of their quest for, variously: joy, fun or greatness. "I will continue to play as long as I enjoy the game," is what we hear from players contemplating retirement.

Imagine that you were playing a round of Catch and somebody suddenly puts up a new rule that specified a whipping for every catch you drop. Would you continue? What if the ball was then changed to be a red-hot one and you were not allowed to use gloves? Would you continue? And what if somebody filled the ground with nails...

But in the games of Calvinball we play in real-life, even when the game changes horribly, we choose to or are forced to keep playing. The burdens of reality pin you down, and you hope that somebody who is un-evil (nobody is purely good, everybody wants to win) will come along and the rules will change for the better...

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