Are You Competitive?

Do you consider yourself a competitive person? When it came to sports, I was always competitive, but table/board games or card games, strangely not so much. You’d think a person would be all in or not at all, regardless of the game. In early elementary school at third and fourth grade especially, I was the most competitive because not only did I expect 100 percent performance for myself at all important recess, but it felt like my existence depended on the ability of my classmates on my “team” to give it their all and go big or go home. I never verbalized it, but in my mind, I was judging the poor other kids on my team. Every day I wanted to be the captain, whether it was kickball, football or whatever, so that I could hand select who took recess as life or death serious, vs. who wanted to pick dandelions in the outfield. I could tell which kids just treated recess like it was a “break” to get outside and have some unstructured time for a bit (in retrospect, like a normal person), instead of treating it as the most important hour of the day as they should have. I’d look around at the other kids and think, “You’re wearing penny loafers? For kickball? Is this some sort of a joke to you?” I also based my friendships on whether they could properly throw a spiral. Nobody wants me to play tag, because I will run you down, Penelope! I remember going up to a friend of mine and saying right to her face, “You’re out!!” because she didn’t follow the rules and refused to get off first base after she was thrown out in third grade kickball. I was a monster. Later in grade school, thankfully I got to know the outfield dandelion pickers and realized that they were pretty amazing people and I was missing out by measuring people’s worth with the wrong stick. I think that’s true in life for a lot of people, they measure others with the wrong stick! So in sports in high school and the dozen different softball teams and leagues in different cities I was on after high school, I was competitive in terms of always wanting to play and trying my hardest to do the best I could, but I was definitely not critical at all of my teammates. As long as it wasn’t me who just screwed up out there, I was fine with that! Win or lose in Southtown, we’d wind up with ice cream or beer anyways, sometimes both. That was the winning combination and reward of Antol’s and PJ’s within walking distance from the big game “under the lights.” Some of the leagues I was on were even called beer league where the pitcher slow pitches the ball as high into the air as possible, and most of our sponsors were bars; that just sounds tranquil. But I’m still too competitive and “heart attack” invested watching professional sports, because if I walk in on a game on tv where my team is doing good, and then they start doing bad after I start watching, I’ll leave the room so as to not jinx them anymore. That’s just how life works. However, I’m oddly not competitive about table games/card games. I could care less. I’m not the one known to throw the game board, rip up dollars, storm off, yell insults, etc. I’m the chill one at the table thinking that as long as there’s nachos and something to drink, I’m good. I wish younger me could have just enjoyed the sports comradery and learned to relax a little and enjoy some nachos and a beer league now and then instead!

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