I am more than a little competitive.
I was a pretty sweet little kid – a short little chatterbox with curly blond hair and bright blue eyes. But put a game in front of me and it was over. Board game, card game, video game, soccer game – it didn’t matter, the competitive fire was burning bright and I was taking no prisoners. And if I lost, or worse, someone didn’t follow the rules, oh the anger I would feel at the injustice of it all.
Of course my parents instilled in me the importance of both winning and losing graciously. I never had a problem with that in soccer, I think because because 1. there was always a ref to enforce the rules, 2. my success or failure depended on my own actions, and 3. I could use all that competitive energy to run faster and kick harder. The problem came when it was a game of luck and mine had run out or someone wanted to play it differently than I thought it should be played. No matter what though, I loved to play. I was always the one pleading over and over again for one more game. I just took it more seriously than most.
Over the years I like to think I’ve gained a bit of control over this sometimes annoying characteristic. The fire still burns, but I keep it confined and try not to let it show as much on the outside. I’m happy when one of my nieces or nephews beats me in a game for the first time. Most of the time I can even manage to keep the grimace off my face when someone says “Oh we don’t need to keep score or do what the rules say, it’s just for fun!”
But sometimes the fire manages to slip out. Last night I was playing Egyptian Rat Killer (awesome name for a card game, huh?) with my two teenage cousins. It’s one of those games that’s based half on luck and half on how fast you can slap doubles. Usually I hate those types of games but I have so many fond memories of playing this one for hours at camp when I was younger. To win a game like ERK, you’ve just got to let it all out and boy did I let. it. all. out! There was no mercy, there was only slapping. Lots of slapping.
And it felt so good.