Kobe Bryant, perennial all star and current member of the Los Angeles Lakers, is one of the most competitive men on the planet. He skipped college and entered the NBA straight out of high school as part of his unending quest to be one of the best ever. (Spoiler alert: He succeeded.)

Patrick Rothfuss is the New York Times bestselling author responsible for The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear. He is currently working on book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles (if I have to wait much longer I may go insane).

Would you believe me if I told that these two men have something in common? What if I told you that this one little thing they have in common is actually relevant here on Engaged Family Gaming?

Probably not.

But, its 100% true.

Both of them are devoted fathers who have played Candy Land with their children… and neither of them let their children win. (See Mom! I have three things in common with an NBA player and a fantasy author!)

Bryant was recently interviewed by Ben McGrath of the New Yorker (the entire piece is well worth the required subscription if you are a sports fan) and in that interview the two men had a discussion regarding Kobe Bryant, his three year old daughter, and Candy Land. The gist of the story: Kobe Bryant would not let his daughter win. The story from the New Yorker reads like this, “He recalled playing Candy Land with her when she was three, and confronting the inevitable question of whether or not to let her win. ‘You know it’s my move,’ he said. ‘She obviously can see that I can win, so she’ll know that I’m not-winning on purpose. Then what’s that teaching?”

In a similar vein, Rothfuss recently published an article on the subject of Candy Land to his personal blog. In it, he talks about how important it is not to let your children win at board games because it robs from the learning experience. Games help teach children about winning and losing. Letting them win isn’t helping anyone. (He also talks about a great way to update Candy Land to make it a more interesting game.)

Why did I write about this you may ask? Well, first and foremost, I wanted to write an article that linked Kobe Bryant and Patrick Rothfuss (Because: Reasons). But, I thought that their two points were worth bringing up. A lot of the games that we play involve directly competing with our children. It is almost unavoidable. Every parent will, at one point or another, be staring down an opportunity to win with their child staring back at them.

The important thing is to have a plan going in, because the temptation might be there to let your child win to make them feel good. We all want to see them smile, but it just isn’t worth it in the long run. Our kids are smarter than we will ever give them credit for and they WILL catch us letting them win. What exactly will that be teaching them?

What are your thoughts? How do you handle this situation? Sound off in the comments!

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By Stephen Duetzmann

Editor in Chief Founder/EiC EngagedFamilyGaming.com Blogger, Podcaster, Video Host RE: games that families can play together. Editor@engagedfamilygaming.com

2 thoughts on “Patrick Rothfuss, Kobe Bryant, and Candy Land”
  1. I agree. Well, most of the time. If we’re playing the third round of Candy Land and I just want it to end, I might let her win. But the real games, nope, whoever wins, wins. We’ve always done it that way, and so far at least (she’s only 3), no problems with losing.

  2. I completely agree, letting your child win isn’t really helpful at all! Sure, it’s hard at first when you just want the tantrum of “BUT I WANTED TO WIN” to stop, but it pays off SO quickly.

    At only 4, my little gamer will congratulate the winner, if she loses and then tell everyone else that they played a great game. As a winner, she’ll usually let out a “yay!” and then immediately tell everyone how well they did and thank them for a game. If you want to raise the kind of gamer that you’d actually want to play with, they need to learn how to be a good loser AND a good winner.

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