There is nothing wrong with a little competitive spark. At least that is how I feel today. I am not writing this to get into a debate about whether kids should just play for fun (and everyone gets a trophy) or kids should play in competitive games where there are winners and losers, and losing is part of the lesson. It’s a fun topic, but not really where I am going, and definitely something I haven’t made up my mind about.
What I am talking about is healthy family competition. Okay, perhaps it isn’t exactly healthy, but familial competition is probably our earliest exposure to competition. Yes, I could go all psychological and talk about sibling jealousy and other stuff, but I was really thinking of who gets the toy from the cereal box or who gets to ride shotgun. Since most people plug in their own music, radio control is now out of the equation. I might as well sit in the back.
So, what spurred this little rambling? I’ll tell you. Words With Friends. Yes, that’s right. I am engaged in lexical combat with my mother and my siblings. I am proud to say I am crushing them without having to resort to the dictionary function. They are going to read this (maybe) and they might be furious, but that is how the cookie crumbles–or should I say, that is how the tiles lay.
I am not always competitive. I joined a cycling club, but have never been to one of their race events, not even as a spectator. I rarely feel the need to speed off when the light turns green. I was pretty content to be the lowest ranked member of the dart team.
Why am I being so ultracompetitive now? I am not sure. It could be that because it is a word based game that I feel compelled to defend my education. I was an English Lit major and I am always going on about how large my vocabulary is. I also feel quite accomplished at the jumble puzzle. I want to show how fast I can solve the thing. I do crosswords in pen.
Growing up, I played a lot of board games with my family and friends. I seem to remember Careers, Who’s it, Life, and a few others being popular. For my sister who is reading this, I know, I left out Tension–but really, that was less of a game than an appeasement.
I don’t remember any of these games being very cutthroat–though I have been involved in some full contact Monopoly games. I would have to guess that card games were more highly contested in my family. We played a lot of them, including some that came with mild consequences. It’s a good thing Texas No Limit Hold’em wasn’t the juggernaut it is today–if it existed at all. As it was, War, Old Maid, Gin, Rummy and concentration were tense enough.
The tide turned when Trivial Pursuit was invented and that became the standard game at home. That opened up a whole new door of grief as to how close you could be to the answer or how exact your answer should be.
As for today, I am locked in some tough word battles, but I might yet prevail. I am playing while writing this and as a result, this post is taking a long time to compose. Competing isn’t Today’s Perfect Moment, but recognizing the competitor within certainly is.