Opinions, Column

Live, Love, Dutch Blitz!

My card was down first! No, mine! No, I was down first! Mine! Shut up! I hate you! I’m playing like dog water! God, I’m an idiot! You suck! Everyday I wake up and wish you were dead! F—k you! Dutch Blitz! Ahh! 

Deep in the wilderness of Pennsylvania, there is a small town, far removed from any surrounding civilization. In this town is a quiet lake, and near this lake is a house owned by my roommate’s family, where my friends and I were lucky enough to spend our fall break. Inside the house, a wood fireplace burns bright, warming up the living room. Fishing rods hang from exposed brick walls and well-loved pillows hint at a family’s long history. Mismatched chairs populate the room, waiting to be pulled up to the kitchen table to give each of us a seat. Outside, the colors of the sun setting on the autumn foliage bleed together like a watercolor painting. 

My friends and I filled our days in this small cove of wilderness by hiking, swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Each night, after we cleaned up our home-cooked meal, we all agreed that none of us had ever known such peace. And then, as if the clock struck twelve, the Blitz would begin. Not just any blitz—Dutch Blitz. 

For those who do not know—as I did not prior to our trip—Dutch Blitz is a “highly interactive, highly energetic, family-friendly card game” (though family-friendly is up for debate). This game consumed the lives of my friends and I during fall break. We spent hours playing round after round, joking about how each of us felt addicted to the “high” of a strong performance. When we played, it was like we weren’t ourselves. We became ultracompetitive, and even the quietest of us started to sling eyebrow-raising insults from across the table.

When the Blitz happened, reality peeled away, and all that remained were the primary colors of numbered cards on a hardwood table. In the heat of the moment, shrieks echoed through the room. We screamed at one another from across the table, throwing jibes back and forth that escalated with the intensity of the game. 

The winner, usually my roommate Mia, would taunt the rest of us with her “superior skills” and “ability to play the table” (her gloating is so bad that we seriously considered creating a gloating jar). The buzz of shuffling cards and laughter would fade out as we tallied points and another round ensued. Despite the insults and screaming, there’s a kind of magic that arises in the frenzy of Blitz. 

When the cards fly and the game rapidly unfolds, nothing else really matters. Your brain is so absorbed with numbers and colors that you can’t possibly think about anything else. It’s one of the few times that we felt truly disconnected from the stresses of school and life. To unburden ourselves from midterms, work, and extracurriculars, all we had to do was Blitz. When you’re in this hyper-focused state, you’re also able to let go of all the barriers keeping you from connecting with the people around you. 

There’s something special about being able to curse someone out at the top of your lungs before putting the cards down and realizing you have never been closer. Not to sound cliché, but maybe it really is about the friends you make along the way when you’re attempting to destroy someone’s hope of victory in a children’s card game. The real magic doesn’t happen during the game, but rather the moments in between each round, filled with laughter and love.

Now that we’re home, the packs of Dutch Blitz cards sit tauntingly on our TV stand and our scoreboards hang loosely from a magnet on our refrigerator. They serve as emblems of a friendship that fills each nook and cranny of our silly red Monopoly house Mod. Even though we’re back in the grips of Canvas notifications and Google Calendar events, every once in a while we look over the tops of our laptops from across the living room and meet one another’s eyes with hopeful aspiration. Blitz?

December 3, 2023