What can make a grown man cry and the most level headed of adults become paranoid, selfish, and more valiant than the average college kid? If you guessed a stalker with a squirt gun, then you are correct. Spy Games is an annual game at Toccoa Falls College which is just as much a part of SGA Fall activities as the Christmas banquet or the Fall Festival. Despite the craziness which the game causes each student to come to grips with, we would admittedly not feel like the semester was complete. Spy Games means a lot to a lot of people. That sounds like a very general statement, but allow me some of your time for an explanation. This is not a soapbox, but neither is it a comprehensive history of the game which has changed the TFC relationship dynamic since it first came here. Life at TFC is a journey, and this game is an important part of the journey which every TFC student goes on for about a month.
Mr. Intense (or Ms.)
He does not need an introduction when he enters the building. You know it by the rapid eyes, windswept hair, half-filled squirt gun (which is most likely not the one SGA delved out), and near run which quickly turns into a nonchalant yet intentional walk once in the safety of the building. When you eat with him, you know you do not have his full attention. When you talk to him, his mind is far from the conversation, unless you are talking about Spy Games. If he dies, the word “conniption” barely covers his reaction. You either hate him or you are rooting for him. Either way, he will not be ignored even though that’s all he’s done to you since the game started.
Every year there are a handful of these people. The ones who, within the first week, realized that $2 is not worth their mental stability, relationships, nor the extra thought that must be put into the game for the sake of winning. Every individual drops out or allows losing for one reason or another. Some realize grades should be given more focus, and some plain go crazy. Either way, winning is not an option, because playing the game was an unfortunate mistake.
Maybe this player exists, because I want him to. Like a girl wishing for a prince to exist, I wish at night for the perfect player who finally understands what it means to be a Christian spy. He does not just toss aside his salvation for a game, yet remembers Micah 6:8 and all it entails, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?” If you do not fit under the upper two categories, there might be a chance that you are here. There is also a good chance that you are already dead. If you are alive, then may God be with you.
There may not be a payout for you at the end of the game, but you are the smartest group of people on campus. Pat yourself on the back and walk peacefully knowing that you will not be ambushed by a personal stalker assigned by SGA. There is not much separating you from “The Intelligence,” except the fact that you will not humor the other fanatics of this game. You may know stuff, but you honestly do not care about such a trivial matter.
You are not playing the game, but you are the most important part of it. You are the person who sits in class and remembers who is in it. You know schedules, practice times, and who eats meals at what times. You have what the players want- information. Be proud you are the most important and the most dangerous person on campus (take a second and pat yourself on the back for your natural cunning and wit which may win someone the game). It is up to you on how you use what you know. Some people sell it, some people use it as personal leverage. Either way, the game needs you.
If you do not feel like you fall under any of these categories, you probably do not attend TFC. The game is more of a test of character than anything else I have ever voluntarily experienced. The weight of glory, and the factor of money combine to make the most valiant of Christians into the most crazed of young adults. Once you die, like a spell being broken, life goes back to normal. For me, it felt like taking off my super suit then converting back into my mild mannered alter ego. Life goes on and winner from one year to the next is never guaranteed. Whether you play or not, courage and cunning should not be limited to one month a year. We should always remember that life should never be limited to mere comfort zones. In the end, remember that you should never judge a girl by her cover.
The 2013 edit: Tiffany Rowlett wrote the above article before entering her second season of Spy Games. She won the game in 2011 and placed 4th. in 2012. This is what she would like to add concerning this season of the games.
Every year I get the same question from my friends, acquaintances, and even a few strangers, “Are you playing Spy Games this year?” During the middle of the fall semester at TFC, the reign of incognito is supreme. Whether or not you paid for a water gun, you are playing the game. In a previous article, I wrote about the different types of player. Now, I wish to remind us all who we are despite how we play.
As Christians, we are told who we are constantly. We even sing about it and pretend we can remind God of how cool and special we are. Ultimately, we have lost focus of whose we are. Christians have been bought with a price, and that’s pretty great. If we’re so willing to embrace God’s grace, we should also be willing to protect it as well. People have their own opinions of Spy Games which are surprisingly set in stone. However, we must never lose sight that this is just a game. Granted, it is one of my favorite games I have ever played, it is still just a game. So what does that mean for our spirituality? It means we should not compromise our God given identity for the sake of winning a game. I challenge players this year that however and whoever wins should give God glory. We’ll one day graduate and move on to even riskier games. God’s foundation at this school will never be shaken.