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I think I may have lost my zeal for Scrabble, and I can't tell if it's permanent or temporary.

I used to be really into it: I joined a club, joined the National Scrabble Association, went to tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. I met lots of cool people. I went to Western Championships in both Alberta and Nevada and met even more cool people. Then I went to the Nationals in 1998 and met dozens of cool people (and a handful of weirdos).

Then I bought a house with my Scrabbling spouse, and then we began to be picky about the tournaments we went to. Couldn't budget for big tournaments far away. Then I got a bee in my bonnet about how common everyday words used in Canada weren't considered for a North American word list because some U.S. dictionary didn't know any better to include them, and got irked about the copyrightedness of it all, and didn't renew my membership except when urged to by my club so I could play in club-challenge tournaments with one of the deadliest clubs in the U.S.

Then I got pregnant. The club had a great shower for me. I didn't even do the club-challenge tournament because it was three days before my due date and the idea of my water breaking a hundred miles from home bothered my spouse (gee, imagine that).

So I had my baby, and hubby and I have been occasionally, rather than weekly, showing up at club, separately. I unsubscribed from a major mailing list because I got grouchy at seeing people post virus hoaxes (it's not good etiquette to do so), post private e-mails to the list (another breach of etiquette), post requests to unsubscribe ("I like word games, but I can't read or follow the instructions on the welcome message on how to unsubscribe") and other things.

Yesterday we visited club with the baby. The baby is a popular draw for many, and is great for opening up opportunities for talking with people I don't normally talk with, although I notice that many of the bachelors I used to talk to on occasion don't talk to me anymore. I wonder if it's because they figured out it's because I sleep/live with/am married to one of the players. I didn't play, but my spouse did. Today I notice that I haven't done my Scrabble puzzle-a-day calendar since March 14, and have only been using the sheets to write down notes on whom I should call and at what number. Sometimes I play online, but not as frequently as I used to when I was pregnant. I just sigh at the idea of playing. When I made a rare appearance at club, one monomaniacal guy (deemed "not all there") asked me, DURING MY TIMED GAME, about stats. No "excuse me", no neutralizing of the clock. I left after my first game, bused it home, and kicked a wall in fury.

I feel a little guilty about the growing lack of zeal and my growing grouchiness. The community that is my Scrabble club is very good to me, and I support them through providing statistics and Web site information, and I support them annually working at our tournament. I love going to their houses and socializing with them, but I can't say I'm really into playing Scrabble. I always find something better to do than study word lists, there's always a mess to be cleaned, always an opportunity to read to and play with the baby, always an opportunity to catch up with friends and relatives.

Scapegoating the dude who lives only for Scrabble is not the answer. I suspect the answer may be to invite some people from the club I really enjoy for chit chat and casual games of Scrabble until I can be socially fine in front of everyone and not snarly/turned off by some boobs. What are your thoughts? How do you stay involved in Scrabble when your life has shifted to one with more responsibilities?

Note that because I'm not a member of the National Scrabble Association, I haven't posted this to a list dedicated for NSA members. And this shouldn't be crossposted to that list, although, upon request, I shall cheerfully submit an edited version that removes references to the guilty parties for cross-post approval.
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