My Convention Regret

I spent the last 4 days at a game convention in St. Louis, and I had a wonderful time. But there’s one moment, a small regret, that has remained on my mind, and I thought I’d share it here.

Also, just to clarify up front, I had a great time playing a game with friends (among them my brother and his fiance) on Sunday afternoon. I had told them in advance that we would play a game together, and I don’t regret the time I spent with them. But I wish I had first spend even just 5-10 minutes with someone else. Here’s what happened:

I had just returned from lunch with a few friends. We were chatting while waiting for my brother to finish a game when I noticed a woman walk up to a nearby table. She was by herself, and she had a large cart of games in tow, many of them in shrinkwrap–she had probably acquired them that afternoon.

One of my friends said something to me and the other friend about one of the games in her cart, prompting a quick exchange. The woman realized we were talking about her games, and she said, “Do you all want to play something?”

It’s that question that has stayed with me. It’s such a beautiful, tender, precious thing when someone risks rejection through an invitation.

Granted, it’s common at Geekway to invite strangers to play games–I did that several times myself over the course of the weekend. But it’s one thing to ask individuals to play a game and quite another to ask a whole group of friends.

And here’s the thing: There is a special feeling a gamer gets when someone wants to play one of your games. It makes you feel useful. It makes you feel like you made the right choice in selecting that specific game.

This woman was exuding that sense of pride over her games. They were her games, and she was willing to invite an entire group of strangers so she could play those games. There was so much hope in her voice.

I really wish I had said yes. I really, really do. I had the opportunity to make someone happy, and I didn’t take it.

I’m sure she was fine. It’s impossible to go to Geekway and not play games. She didn’t need me to say yes. She didn’t need me to be happy. She was a strong, proud nerd, and I genuinely appreciate her invitation.

Even if it were just for a quick game, I wish I had said yes. That would have felt right to me.

Can you relate to this? It’s a combination of someone risking rejection and you having the ability to brighten someone’s day. Have you ever wished in hindsight that you had put aside your plans and just said yes?