The Game
BC student Courtney Dutton loses The Game and the Student Government Association (SGA) election and Christian Studies Professor Tracey Stout’s tie causes loss.

The Game

By Heather Paisley | May 2, 2011 | RSS

Someone once said, “You can’t win for losing,” and for Courtney Dutton, numerous BC students, and me, this rings true because we just lost The Game.


If you are reading this, you have one of two options: you have just lost The Game as well, or you are wondering what game has been lost.


Heather Paisely.

The Game is being played by millions worldwide, according to Wikipedia, and at BC, students are trying their best to win, but they are unable. It is not that they lack ability or knowledge; in fact, it’s their knowledge that keeps them from winning. Knowledge may be power, but in The Game, knowledge is a permanent loss.


I didn’t know what The Game was until my roommate, Natasha Wood, randomly said, “I just lost The Game.”


I was confused and wondered what game she had lost. She wasn’t playing a computer game, a card game, or a game on the Wii. I wanted to ask, but I was scared. Looking back now, maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did.


 “From my understanding, The Game is something that you will always be playing once you learn about it,” said Wood. “You can never stop playing, even if you don’t want to be playing. Trying not to think of The Game, is The Game. If you think of it, you lose, and you have a 15-minute period of time where everyone can forget about it, and when someone loses it again after that, they have to announce it to everyone. The only way to win The Game is if the President of the United States announces it on national television because you told him to.”


After explaining this to me several times and in several different ways, I understood, and I officially became a player of The Game.  Actually, I did not understand it, and all I knew was that I was playing something. Do not get me wrong; I love to play games--tennis, Scrabble, and Super Mario--but this game was crazy.


I quickly put The Game in the back of my mind, but not for long.


The next day, I walked passed a group of upset students in Lansdell who were fussing at each other because one of them had caused the others to lose The Game.  As I walked to class, I thought about how bizarre this was and I did not understand why these students were playing this strange game. I remembered what Natasha had said, and I knew that I was thinking about The Game, which meant I had lost and that now, I was supposed to confess.


I could not randomly say, “I just lost The Game” out loud in public, though, because I was new to BC and I didn’t want my fellow Rams to think I was crazy, but what consequences would I suffer if I did not obey the rules of The Game? Would Natasha find out and report me to some larger authority that controlled The Game?


My conscious was eating me up; I knew it was my duty as a Game player to announce my loss, and when I eventually did, it felt great. I finally understood The Game. I thought about The Game all the time and I loved making people lose.


Everyone who plays The Game has a story about learning it.


“I found out about it when I was on a mission trip in South Africa,” said Wood.


Lauren Pillow, a resident advisor in East River Hall, learned The Game in high school.


“We were sitting in class and there was this one boy in my class and he always said, ‘Dang, I just lost The Game!’ and five or six other people would say, ‘Dang, I just lost The Game, too,’ but everybody else would look at each other like, ‘What are you talking about? What game is this you’re trying to figure out?’”


After hearing stories about how students began playing The Game, I could not help but wonder where and how The Game itself began.  According to my Internet search, the origins of The Game are uncertain. One theory is that when two men missed their last train and had to spend the whole night on a platform, they tried not to think about their situation and whoever did first, lost.  Another idea is that it was invented in London as a way to annoy people. Another theory circulates that The Game is similar to Douglas Hofstadter's number P, the number of minutes per month a person thinks about the letter P.


Not all students play The Game.


“I don’t like it!” said theatre major Bonnie Blackburn.


Jackie Gonzalez, goalie for the Bluefield College women’s soccer team, finds The Game very annoying.


“Forget that stuff,” said Gonzalez. “I hate losing and there’s no way to win!”


Other students are fine with The Game and accept the consequences.


“I just lost it, of course,” said Angel Hackney, a transfer student from Grundy, Va.. “I don’t know the full extent of the rules of the game. All I know is if you think about you lose, and the only way you can when is if the President of the U.S. says that he just lost the game on television.”


Some players have developed strategies for making other people lose, such as saying The Game out loud, or writing about The Game on a hidden note, in graffiti in public places, or on banknotes.


Courtney Dutton, a BC student from Abingdon, Va., thought of a creative way to make others lose The Game.  At BC’s Convocation Wednesday, March 30, Dutton announced in her campaign speech for SGA president that she had lost The Game.


“Hey guys, for those of you who don't know me, my name's Courtney Dutton and I transferred here last fall from Emory and Henry College,” said Dutton in her speech. “I would like to be SGA president because I think that it's really important for us as students to be involved with what's happening with our school.  If you elect me, I will do my best to keep you informed of what's happening administratively here at BC, and I will definitely take the time to listen to you and your concerns about how we can make our school even better than it already is.  Anyway, now that I've said all that stuff that candidates have to say, I need to tell you that...I just lost The Game...but don't hold that against me.  You should still vote for me as SGA president because I'm organized, honest, and I'll take the job seriously.  Thank you.”


Dutton’s speech caused everybody at Convocation to lose The Game. One cannot help but wonder if her campaign strategy backfired, since she lost the election to Bethany Liddle.


Dutton may or may not be able to link her campaign loss with her Game loss, but she can take credit being the first to teach the Game to Celia Jones, who plays tennis for BC.


“I’ve never heard of it before,” said Jones, “until Courtney mentioned it at Convocation, and I was like, ‘What game? You lost, but we haven’t even voted yet. How does she know she has lost?’ I heard people laugh and thought it was an inside joke, but everybody told me it was The Game.”


If Celia had not found out about the Game, she could have won the Game.


“Agh,” said Jones.” I don’t like this game! I don’t want to play anymore!"