Do it for the Article

US Wealth Napolitano |

Believe it or not, I quite enjoy writing these personal articles. My days at U.S. Wealth Management as a Financial Planning Associate primarily deal with analysis, reporting, client communication (among other duties), however the personal article offers a much needed creative outlet. The main issue many of us struggle with when beginning the articles are finding good ideas to write about. To combat this, I’ve filled my iPhone Notes application with prompts and ideas that can easily manifest into an enjoyable read for people like yourself (or so I hope). And as I read the scoresheet this past Thanksgiving morning, which indicated a clear path to my first ever victory, I went to my Notes application to jot down a seemingly good idea to write about. The personal article would be highlighted by a lifetime of struggle that would soon make way for sweet, sweet success. But I regret to inform you that this personal article, which had all the potential to uplift and inspire, sadly ends in heartbreak.

I cannot recall the exact year I first beat my Dad in basketball, but I’d imagine it was around the fourth or fifth grade. Though he was 2-3 times larger than me, I spent the majority of my free time shooting hoops on our steeply-sloped hillside driveway, which gave a pretty unfair advantage. Though I am sure I was excited at the time, the exact memory was not engraved in my mind, as opposed to friends that seemingly can recall the very minute they beat their fathers.

A year or so later, I put together my best nine hole round ever, scoring a 45 to beat my Dad by a single stroke. I remember a few things, (primarily my Dad proudly assessing me a 1-stroke penalty on the ninth hole for hitting my drive into the red stakes), but again, it is not as if it was such a significant triumph that the memory would vividly remain with me forever.

Since then, I have consistently bested him on the hardwood and golf course (though he still puts together a sneaky-low round every now and then). However, none of that really matters to me as I continue to get slaughtered on the most important of all stages: the Scrabble board. Even while I was a child he would pile it on—often winning by 250+ points. Additionally, we would frequently be joined by my Grandmother (his mother), and she too would bury me in points and deny the majority of my word attempts as she is a living, breathing dictionary--which brings me back to Thanksgiving morning. As the first songs of the holidays played in the background, I realized that there were very few tiles left to draw from and I had a comfortable lead. Something had clicked this time around. I was using my ‘S’ tiles masterfully, with several rounds scoring in the mid-forties, while also playing defensively, trying to squander opponents’ ‘big play opportunities.’

I completed one of my final turns and reached for my phone as I had a decent idea for a future personal article. As the adrenaline pumped, I quickly pulled up my Notes application and wrote “Personal article: beating your dad in scrabble is a big milestone—compared to golf and b-ball.” As I put my phone back down, my Dad smiled and placed an ‘X’ over a triple letter square, followed by a few more tiles, covering a double word score, to create the word ‘exist’. This was damning, especially considering the lack of vowels in my hand. As I placed my seemingly only option I had on the board to claim a few measly points, my Dad retaliated with another monstrous word, using all remaining tiles (subjecting me to additional penalties), and sending me to kingdom come.

Thanksgiving was not ruined, however I was forced to drown myself in gravy to make up for the sins that ‘could have been.’ And though it’s nice to have something to write about, the win would have made it much nicer.