Thanks for stopping by my blog. This week, my guest blogger Walt Duncan is talking about family connections. You know, how to stay close to the people you love even when the miles separate you. It’s not always easy finding ways to stay connected, but the key is to make an effort. Yeah, I need to work on that.

Walt writes: My family is what one might call competitive. I have no idea why, but being competitive has always been a staple of my family’s bond, specifically between my brothers and me. Whether it be sports, video games, or even the occasional board game, we have always found a way to make whatever we did into a rip-snorting, smack-talking good time. arm-wrestling-176645__180Sometimes it was being competitive in stupid ways, like getting into an argument. Other times it would get to a point of devolving into an absolutely hopeless mess, where only the swift intervention of a parent would put an end to the argument. It’s at those times where my brother and I were throwing around strong words like “hate” that my dad would impart his wisdom to us. He would say “You boys might think you hate each other now, but I can guarantee you there will come a time when you’ll wish you could come back to this house and spend time together.”

As the years went on, my brothers and I would explore dozens of competitive games and activities in a constant drive to satiate our competitive thirst. As we grew older, my brothers and I became more mature and stopped getting so hot-blooded over such trivial things. However, we still had the desire to play and compete together as only we could. road-trip-925859__180The problem was that my older brother, who was probably the most competitive, moved off to college in another town, leaving me and my younger brother to our own devices. Whenever he would come home, on rare occasions, we would game together, but there was a gap. My older brother and I were pretty close when it came to gaming, so his being away from home was sort of disheartening.

My brother came home one Friday and seemed pretty excited. He’d found this new game for us to play online. It was played by millions of people, we could play it together, and best of all: It was highly competitive. I was a little hesitant at first, but after a few matches I was hooked.

game-1232879__180It was a ton of fun, even if I was getting smacked around all over the place. My brother left that weekend, but the next night we played, and even though we were miles apart, playing together online felt like we were kids again, hanging out, busting heads, and just having fun.

It’s been 2 years since we started playing online, and even though it isn’t real contact, playing online has been something that has kept us together. For a little while we went to the same university, and would play together a lot. Recently, my older brother and his wife moved again and aside from the occasional phone call, or weekend at my parents’ house, the game has been the only contact we’ve had. However, thanks to that game, we’ve kept pretty close.

With life being as hectic as it is, and both of us hitting adulthood like a brick wall, there’s something comforting about just being able to sit down for 30 minutes and play a game with my brother.

The funniest thing to me though is that my dad was right. There are times that I truly wish I could go back to our childhood home and spend time with my brothers. Even though it isn’t the same, I’m glad that if only for a moment, I can spend time with my brother before life dragged us back in. Even if he’s hours away, being able to spend time with him is something that is valuable to me, though I’ll never admit that to him.