By Mike Corcoran ‘19
Twenty-two Crusaders sat around a table late on a Thursday night. They were a part of what was quite possibly the greatest competition of the century. A good old-fashioned game of UNO.
On a quiet, peaceful, Thursday night, 22 brave warriors prepared to do battle. They knew what was at stake, and they could not afford to lose. Only the top three competitors would move on to the championship round. The deck was shuffled, and the cards were dealt; the battle had begun.
An anonymous player said, “This was no ordinary game of UNO. We took it very seriously and everyone wanted to win really bad.”
Cards began to fly out of the hands of the competitors, a blue six, a blue seven, a blue three. Then everything went silent. One of the brave warriors had a game changing card that he was ready to place. The tension was in the air and all the others sat around on the edge of their seats, waiting anxiously for what could be placed. As the card flipped, the reaction of the crowd was explosive. The card had been changed to a green three. The game would never be the same again.
As the game progressed, cards began to add up in certain players’ hands, and some were getting down to their last card. One tall, red-haired Crusader kept his card pile as secretive as he could. “UNO,” he shouted, as the rest of the players’ jaws dropped. He could potentially be the first person in the championship round. Two turns before this the tall, red haired Crusader’s turn, a draw-four was placed, and the usual “jump out of chair” reaction took place.
Everyone knew what this meant for the game. There was a 25% chance that the color picked could be the color that the tall, red-headed Crusader needed. “Red.” The room went silent. You could hear a pin drop. The tall, red-headed Crusader had a slight smirk. He placed his card down on the table, as everyone watched.
It was a red three.
Screams of excitement and anger erupted from the other 21 Crusaders, and the tall red-headed Crusader clinched a spot in the championship.
Only two spots remained. Things were just starting to heat up. It was looking to be a long, entertaining night.
An anonymous spectator said, “The pressure was heating up. You could tell some of the competitors were starting to get nervous that they wouldn’t be one of the last two.”
As time progressed, another Crusader shouted, “UNO!” Nobody thought anything of it because many shouts of “UNO” had recently rang through the hall with no result. As the turn came back to this Crusader, having kept himself low-key, he put down his final card to gain himself the second spot in the championship. Screams of anger, shock, and hopelessness echoed from the table as the remaining 20 crusaders faced the harsh reality; only one more of them was making it to the championship.
This was a time of cheating, blackmailing, and backroom deals. The remaining competitors did what they had to in order to have a chance at the tournament. A couple close calls resulted in another red headed Crusader with one card remaining. When the time came for him to place his final card, he knew what had to be done. After a short victory lap, he ran with a head start, leaped into the air, and landed, placing his card on the pile with a loud thud.
He had won.
The championship was decided. The tall, red haired kid, the skinnier, timid kid, and the other red haired kid were in the finals.
The crowd gathered around for miles to watch this epic showdown. Only one man could come out on top. This was for all the glory, all the fame. All the training and hard work lead straight to this moment. This was going to be one for the ages.
Each competitor sat in their respective corner with their coaches and hype men. They discussed strategy and game plans before and during the battle. About three minutes in, the first “UNO” was called. It was one of a few that were called until the shorter red haired kid had two cards remaining. He whipped out a draw four and shouted, “UNO!” Everyone’s stomach dropped.
“Yellow,” he called.
This was the end; the tall, red haired kid would have to draw four, and the skinnier, timid kid put down a yellow. The shorter, red haired kid put down his last card and won himself the UNO championship.
The anonymous champion said, “It feels great to be UNO champion, all the other guys are jealous though, I’ll have to watch my back.”
The intensity of the game of UNO, and what’s at stake, are worth it in the end for the victor.
Legend has it, he is still the reigning, defending, undisputed, UNO champion of the world.