Sibling Rivalries

There is no playing for fun. No matter how old my sister and I get, put us in front of an air hockey table and we are going to fight to win.

Carl J. Petersen
3 min readDec 9, 2021


Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.

- Sam Levenson

Photo by 𝔸𝕧𝕒 𝕋𝕪𝕝𝕖𝕣 on Unsplash

The two kids at the air hockey table could have been my sister and me. The brother was a couple of years older and was dominating his sister who could barely see over the table. Still, she was determined and feisty. That is until her mother tried to offer advice and became the target of pent-up frustration. The sister stormed off and the game was over.

My sister and I stepped up to the table and were instantly transported back in time. We were no longer two adults past the half-century mark playing in a corporate arcade. Instead, we were a couple of kids just a few years older than the ones we had just been watching and we were set to do battle in my grandparent’s garage while the adults visited upstairs.

My sister and me

The puck comes hurling at me and the game has started. I block it and send it back to my younger sibling. We were competitive as children and as adults nothing has changed. It isn’t long before the puck has flown off the table. It won’t be the first time.

I laugh to myself as I notice the plexiglass that divides the table in two. It is not hard to imagine what necessitated the protection from flying pucks; two people playing a game way too hard and the puck leaving the table into one of the player’s faces. Mothers everywhere would claim that the person lost an eye.

The mallets (yes, that is what they are called according to the United States Air Hockey Association) are also different than I remember. The ones that we are using now have a protective lip over the front. My knuckles are thankful for this protection as I block a shot and the puck lifts off of the table. I can feel the sting as I remember not being so lucky…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.