This is a guest article submitted by Matt Molandes. As Pride Month draws to a close, Calliope would like to extend our thoughts and love to our LGBTQ friends, and our thanks to Matt for so eloquently putting into words why we still march.
Imagine it. You’re 8 years old, you can see your breath as it escapes your mouth in excitement. The sweat on your palms builds up as the anticipation for the parade grows. And then… the sirens begin. You peek out past the rope and see a cavalcade of beautiful colors and floats moving in the wind. You can faintly hear music as it inches closer to where you’re standing.
This is it. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.
Now imagine, you’re 22 years old. You can feel the nerves getting closer. A distant but direct voice announces, “5 minutes to places,” and you can feel the sweat build as you put your costume on. You’re breathing heavy but with each step you find your stride to the upbeat music, and with a loud applause, people are cheering for you as you wave to them with modified sight. You dance to the beat and wave to the kids as you travel down the route pacing your breath.
This is it. You can accomplish anything.
Now imagine, you’re 28 years old. You can feel the sweat drip on the back of your neck, it’s hot, and although there’s no shade in sight you continue to stand defiantly and quiet. Your other half squeezes your hand as you stare across at the other people standing. It’s silent and solemn and you see a cop car in the distance with sirens but no sound. Suddenly, 49 people with fabric wings flood the street and your heart sinks as you remember all too well just what this parade was for. And just like that, Pride becomes so much more important than before.
This is it. This is why parades matter.
The purpose of my writing is to highlight my time playing Everyone Loves a Parade by Mike Mulvihill, but before I do, I think it’s important for you all to understand why as a board game enthusiast I feel games have the ability to impact and reach people’s memories in ways not necessarily intended. So many emotions came back while playing this positively charismatic board game that to not mention my connection with the event would do its time at my table injustice.
At the heart of Everyone Loves a Parade is a reminder to let go while still moving forward. It’s a bold stance to take that a game about balloons and streamers could invoke complexity, but don’t let it fool you. There are plenty of opportunities for strategy and heavy scoring, even if at times sometimes the best move is to just let what happens, happen. The game itself is paced perfectly and with each round, just like waiting for a parade, the anticipation builds to take riskier moves in order to score the most points. And appropriately, as the game progresses so does the parade that’s now filled with floats and decorations that stretches as far as the eye can see.
And just like a parade, this game is quickly over and serves as the perfect reminder to cherish those moments with those around the table and remember that everyone truly does love a parade.
Matt Molandes is a board game enthusiast and collector living in Orlando, FL with his fiancé Jon. He has worked in entertainment (including parades) for Walt Disney World, and is currently an escape room designer and store manager for Dare 2 Escape in Kissimmee, FL. You can find him on Instagram @lostmymeeples.