CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
Featured Book
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia
Search Site
Interactive

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Cautious or Optimistic
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Amalgamural
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers

Collections

A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Ampersands
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Do-Re-Midi
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
How to Believe in Your Elf
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Miscellanies of Mr. Jonathan
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Non-Circulating Books
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Pfft!
Phosphenes
Precursors
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Constellations
D-ictionary
Film-ictionary
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Answers, Questioned
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost In The [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
Unicorns
What I Now Know
What's In a Name
Yearbook Weirdness
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In

Archives

June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006

Links

Magic Words
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Martha Brockenbrough
Gordon Meyer
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
dbqp
Phantasmaphile
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
Ironic Sans
Brian Sibley's Blog
Neat-o-Rama
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
March 27, 2008

Puzzles and Games (permalink)

Maynard the Genie, from Maynardland.com.
The "Spirit of the Game"

(an Abecedarian guest blog for DeepFun.com)

Without the spirit of the game,
what would the game be?
—Nevin H. Gibson,
The Encyclopedia of Golf

Arabian folklore tells of a wish-granting genie imprisoned in an oil lamp or bottle. Might players innocently conjure such a spirit in a game of spin-the-bottle? Indeed, every game has a motivating force at the heart of it -- its own sort of soul. Whatever we might call it -- essence, atmosphere, intention, or ethos -- it's that special spark that distinguishes the game from all others. Like a genie of folklore, the Spirit of the Game grants good sports a wish -- the ultimate wish. (We'll get to that in a moment.)

The Spirit of the Game is not necessarily spelled out in the rules. Indeed, "There are situations in which adherence to the so-called letter of the rules can be taken to violate the spirit of the game."[1] The Spirit of the Game is a distillation of the intent of the rules. It has been called "a self-regulating set of norms without which some games would degenerate into anarchy."[2] It is a frame of mind, not a commandment carved in stone. It's a point of view, a sense of humor, a strength of character. Novelist Richard Le Gallienne summed it up perfectly: "To be whimsical, therefore, in pursuit of a whim, fanciful in the chase of a fancy, is surely but to maintain the spirit of the game."[3]

Because it is typically undefined, the Spirit of the Game can be abused. Unsportsmanlike conduct (like taunting and intimidation) is one indication of abuse; bringing the game into disrepute is another.[4] When honored across the board, the Spirit of the Game turns opponents into equals. Most importantly, it engenders fun. While camaraderie is jolly and competition is stimulating, "the real spirit of the game is all about having fun."[5]

Though each game has its own unique Spirit, there are some universal characteristics. The Spirit of the Game is:

• even-tempered
• self-possessed, yet unselfish
• levelheaded
• well-balanced
• untroubled
• either easygoing or animated
• motivated
• spontaneous
• committed
• earnest
• disciplined
• wholehearted
• courteous
• honorable
• responsible
• idealistic

Ultimately, the Spirit of the Game "is the only thing in the game which is lasting."[6]

Corporate trainer Julius E. Eitington makes an interesting observation: when players become caught up in the Spirit of the Game, they "become themselves."[7] What is one's true self, but that of a player on the grand game board of life? Edward Clark Marsh once described being enlivened by the Spirit of the Game: "If it was not for a moment real life, it at least made you wish it were."[8]

Other signs that the Spirit of the Game is present include:

• both sides wish each other good luck
• both sides cheer one another (winning or losing is secondary; the game itself is a victory for all [9])
• everyone plays fair (no cheating, no bending of the rules)
• players celebrate the game's tradition, safeguard its precedent, and carry on its legacy
• players supervise themselves. Game scientist Andrew Thornton notes that "There is no agreed upon definition of the Spirit of the Game, but there is a pervasive sense that one should play by it. The Spirit of the Game is the Police" inside each player's head.[10]

But we've neglected the quintessential sign that the Spirit of the Game is present. And that's when the ultimate wish is granted: the firing shot that sets play into motion. When the game is afoot, all else is inconsequential!

Fun Facts about the Spirit of the Game:

• In Ultimate Frisbee, where there are no referees and no penalties, the Spirit of the Game is the underlying philosophy. "The Ultimate player will always praise and support successful actions on both teams. It is a normal thing to introduce yourself to the opponent at the beginning of every point and to wish him a good game. And after the game both teams stand in a circle talking about the game and singing a song for the opponent team. So it is a lot more than just a short handshake after a game."[11]
• The Spirit of the Game comes into play "before the game has even begun."[12]
• "Soccer is unique among sports in that the official's job is first and foremost to maintain the spirit of the game as well as the safety of all concerned; this concern outweighs all other laws of the game."[13]
• The Spirit of the Game of soccer has been traced back to the early to mid nineteenth century, when the game developed from its folk roots into its modern form.[14]
• The Spirit of the Game of curling "demands good sportsmanship, kindly feeling, and honourable conduct."[15]
• The Fighting Spirit of the Game of American football is persistently aggressive in nature: "Throughout the history of football, the violent spirit of the game has endured, even as other elements of the game have changed."[16]
• The Spirit of the Game of lacrosse "is a feeling of honor and dignity."[17]
• The Spirit of the Game reminds players that not everything is a matter of life and death, that consequences are temporary, and that results are not critical.[6]
• The Spirit of the Game teaches players to "accept success with grace and failure with restraint."[18]
• The Spirit of the Game of golf is characterized by disciplined conduct, courtesy, and sportsmanship at all times.[19]

[1] Allan C. Hutchinson, It's All in the Game, 2000, p. 195.
[2] Lincoln Allison, Amateurism in Sport, 2001, p. 161.
[3] The Quest of the Golden Girl, 1897, p. 35.
[4] William John Morgan, Ethics in Sport, 2007, p. 126.
[5] Richard Carlson, The Don't Sweat Guide to Golf, 2002, p. 205.
[6] Division for Girls' and Women's Sports, Sports Programs for College Women, June 21-27, 1969, p. 23.
[7] The Winning Trainer, 2001, p. 142.
[8] "Anthony Hope's 'Sophy of Kravonia,'" The Bookman, 1907, p. 381.
[9] Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring, 2000, p. 124.
[10] Belinda Wheaton, ed., Understanding Lifestyle Sport, 2004, p. 187.
[11] Jorg Bahl, Ultimate Frisbee, 2007, p. 4.
[12] John Byl, Co-Ed Recreational Games, 2002, p. 205.
[13] Andy Caruso, Soccer Coaching, 1996, p. 29.
[14] Sharon Colwell, "The 'Letter' and the 'Spirit': Football Laws and Refereeing in the Twenty-First Century," The Future of Football, 2000, p. 201.
[15] Gary Belsky & Neil Fine, 23 Ways to Get to First Base, 2007, p. 209.
[16] William D. Dean, The American Spiritual Culture, 2002, p. 148.
[17] Steve Bristol, quoted in Our Game: The Character and Culture of Lacrosse by John M. Yeager, 2005, p. 79.
[18] Hubert Vogelsinger, The Challenge of Soccer, 1973, p. 274.
[19] United States Golf Association, Golf Rules Illustrated, 2004, p. 4.
> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


Original Content Copyright © 2019 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.