Everyone is a winner! (But not really.)
Ten-ish years ago I was on a cruise with my close friend Sarah. I don't know if you've ever been on a cruise before, but it's a lot of sitting and eating, and sometimes, if you're not used to being on a massive ship on the open sea, some sea sickness.
Amid all of this sitting and eating (the sickness came later), we started playing boardgames (more like bored games, amirite? I'm sorry). Sometime after Sarah had landed and purchased Park Place and just before she had all of the transports, I realised what I was feeling was not the joviality that goes with playing a game with your friend, but was, instead, rage. Why is she beating me? How is she beating me??
Fine, it's on, dick. Bring out the checkers.
(She beat me at checkers, too.)
That, right then, is when I knew that I have a crazy competitive streak in me. That was also made apparent today.
Today was my son's first Sports Day. Field Day to me, but the same concept: kids compete in relay races and obstacle courses for the sake of being out in the sunshine all day. Makes sense. Except when I was a kid we didn't all win. When I was a kid, we were ranked on our sprinting ability and how well we could keep up a hoola hoop. I remember one field day when I came home and told my dad that I came in fifth in the sprint. What I failed to tell him until after he bragged to all and sundry about my victory is that there were only five runners in my race. But, the point was that someone won and someone lost. (Me. That person was me.)
Today, though, James won. And Joe won. And Chris won. They all freaking won. And I'm not offended by them all winning. I know everyone is up in arms about participation trophies and such, but really, it is about fun and, honestly, who cares? They are five and if I were a teacher I wouldn't want to deal with 29 sad kids and one happy kid who gets to bring home the biggest trophy. I would make my day as easy as it can be with 30 five years olds running around in circles for five hours.
What I do have a problem with is my not winning. There were parent races. Bub did the sack race, I did the egg and spoon. I KILL IT. Like, seriously, I'm a master at the egg and spoon. Maybe it was the childhood dance classes or the years of cheerleading, but I was fast and steady. Forget the fact that the egg was made out of wood, I still rocked it... until my team member just... didn't. We were far in the lead, and the anchor let us down hard. We nearly came in last! I use that exclamation point very seriously. Last! When I was about to ask Señor Slowpoke what the hell happened, Bub stepped in, and, in no fewer words said, "Cut that shit out right now."
Like, he swore at me in a school yard. I nearly told the principal.
I wanted to argue and tell him it isn't all fun and games until he informed me that, yes, in fact it is all fun and games. That's the point. Now pipe down and eat your ice cream, you brat.
So, I had to swallow the defeat. Many times I had to stop myself from cheering when James's team would come in first, or telling him it was all okay when they came in last. The kids, though, didn't care if they won or lost. There were no tears or tantrums; not one 'it's not fair' was uttered. They got into the spirit of the game, and weren't so concerned with winning. That genuinely wasn't the point in their eyes.
Too bad they're too young to know better.
I know this will wear off in a few years. They'll want to run faster or hit the ball harder than their peers. They'll want to smash their best friend at Monopoly while on a boat with about ten thousand over 65s. I look forward to the competitive spirit coming out, because I need to lord my victories over someone and Bub just isn't having it.
Here's some pictures from
my disappointing day sports day: