I was about to text an old associate of mine to help settle a dispute regarding the game of bid whist. Somebody argued with me that you could bid a six no, and I said that why would anyone bid higher than a 5 no? We discussed the issue at length before I grabbed my phone out and began texting. As I began to type, an interesting comparison occurred to me. The flexibility of the game of bid (whist) in comparison to that of the game of spades is a dynamic element that a totally different level of strategy and intrigue to those experiences. I decided to postpone the argument’s conclusion for later as I began to compose this particular piece.
Now, anyone who follows the blog through twitter (If not, I try my best to bless the timeline’s of my followers with thoughtful commentary, if not just entertaining satire. Give me a try @Owlasylum) then you may be familiar with a hashtag (an informal symbolic means of forming themes for ones updates on twitter) that I created in which I discussed various lessons that I had learned about politics while playing spades. As I began to form my query to my friend, I thought about manner in which we lean on our strong suits in situations of conflict. I’ve seen people completely reverse the roles of formal authority simply because their skill set confined them, and they couldn’t adjust to a leader with a different skill set. Well, in most parlances a skill set is also metaphorically referred to as one’s “strong suit.” But what happens when you can’t lean on your strong suit? What happens when life deals your partner a “5 No”? (In bid, for those that may not be familiar, a “4 No” or higher “NO” bid is an automatic win or loss because you are scored double for a bid of “NO”-which means “no trumps”: no suit is has initial power to trump another suit; i.e. spades are the trump suit in spades.)
How do we learn to process the organizational talent to accept that another person may be “running the table” of our affairs, and we should not “cut above them” if possible, in fact, there are going to be times when we actually need to “feed” that person books(Meaning, we need to intentionally feed our partner a card that could possibly be a “trick” or a “book” in order to created a “run”, a consecutive set of winning plays that helps to remove any doubts about what cards could possibly be in the opposition’s hands.)
I am sure that many of us have seen or experienced situations where this type of dynamic partnership, or organizational paradigm would need to be considered. What are some situations that you have been in where you have had to control the urge to “take over” because you felt your strong suit, or strength was more needed than someone on your team? Often in class, I have to shake the often overwhelming desire to argue with older black instructors who are presenting debunked arguments as facts to a class. In the US, institutional racism persists to the point where I often feel so sympathetic toward the American Black as to overlook certain arguments. I especially overlook those arguments in mixed company. Sometimes you have to take one for the team, and always remember that in a team, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, just because you don’t lead the winning hand, doesn’t mean you didn’t win.