I am a very competitive person. Although I think it’s a good trait to possess to a certain degree, I try really hard to tone my competitive nature down when in the presence of my children. “Winning doesn’t matter, as long as you tried your best and had fun.”
It’s hard for me to say it out loud with a convincing smile sometimes, but I do it for the well-being of my children. No one likes the kid that always has to win, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put any sort of unrealistic pressure on my children to “be the best.” If you want to do it, do it. If you’re good at it, great. If you suck at it, try harder. If you continue to like it, are trying really hard, and still suck at it, maybe it’s time to explore other options.
My children have yet to display any indication that they have been bit by the “athletic bug.” At this point, I’m not holding my breath and quite honestly couldn’t care less, despite the fact that both my husband and I were fairly decent athletes back in the day. It’s over-rated anyway. The amount of pressure I put on myself as a kid to be the best (which I never was) led to inevitable self destruction and some very serious soul searching in the end.
That said, I enjoy a little healthy competition from time to time, unless the opponent is my husband. We’ve known each other for years. Neither one of use likes to lose (who does?), especially when competing against one another. Quite honestly, it dates back to when we were in third grade and I beat my future husband (and the rest of the boys) in the annual “Punt, Pass, and Kick” competition at school. I can see how that might negatively affect a man’s ego. I mean, how humiliating, and then to marry the girl that kicked your ass on top of it. Wow, that kind of just must suck a little bit.
Regardless, everything is a competition with him. When I get sick, he is more sick. When I don’t sleep well, he slept worse. Seriously? That’s not even possible. Every single time?
As a rule, I gave up playing games with him years ago. A game of Scrabble takes four hours. Why? Because he studies that damn game board for 23+ minutes every single turn in a pathetic attempt to gain recognition from the Scrabble gods for setting some sort of highest point record, and then arrogantly sits back in his chair, takes a sip of beer, and looks at me with that shit eating grin I have known and loved to hate for the better part of my life.
“Your turn honey.”
Three seconds or less…“cat”
“That’s all you got? Cat? Really? That’s like 3 points. You suck. Beer me!”
Can we all pause for a moment and do a community eye roll?
“Here’s the thing honey, you are so unbelievably predictable, and this is the exact opposite of fun for me. The faster I take my turn, the sooner this game will be over. Furthermore, I am not even trying. Your turn. I’ll be back after I down three beers, brush my teeth, and watch a rerun of Friends WITH commercials on TBS.”
Family game night is the absolute worst! Unlike me, my children love to play board games. Most often, teams are involved and my husband and I are obviously on opposite sides. He smack talks, high fives, and if he rolls a six (Hot Damn!), he celebrates as if he just won the NBA championship game with a last second half court shot in overtime.
“Seriously? It’s Pictionary. You just drew a sun and your six year old daughter guessed it. Congratulations. You are capable of doing what a toddler can do.”
I sit across the table from him with daggers in my eyeballs, inhaling and exhaling deeply, clenching my jaw to the point that I now have a very diagnosable case of TMJ, trying desperately to keep my composure for the sake of my innocent children who absolutely love family game night and have no idea what the hell is really going on here.
“Winning doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we had fun.” Ugh.
“On a separate, but related topic, why don’t you ask your Dad about the time your Mom kicked his sorry ass in “Punt, Pass, and Kick?”
Now there’s a funny story and one worthy of some serious bragging rights.
“It’s okay honey, don’t cry. You drew a really good sun.”
Guess who’s going to sleep better tonight?