Competitive Drive

I am not really a person with much of a competitive drive.

I played some sports as a kid, not really much of anything. I never lettered in anything. I never even played on a team that finished the season with a winning record, in my entire life. I was driven in sports simply to do my best. I didn’t really care about winning the game or match.

I imagine I would’ve done better in school if I was competitive, but I never cared much. My dad one time told me that he thought I should’ve finished high school as a summa cum laude, and he was probably right. I generally had all A’s on tests, but I rarely did my homework, so I would get a B or A- in the class.

Playing video games, or cards, or yard games, or board games, I never care if I win. For whatever reason it just doesn’t bother me if I lose, which I think is the big motivating factor for trying to win for most people.

My whole life I just got satisfaction if I had fun and I played well. That being said, I do get frustrated and upset when I am playing a game or sport if I know I can perform better. Some people confuse that with being competitive, but it isn’t.

I think the whole thing stems from when I was a kid. My best friends all wanted to play video games a lot. I didn’t really care for video games (or, at least, I liked a very specific type of game that my friends never seemed to play) and I certainly wasn’t any good at them. So whenever I played Street Fighter II or Mario Kart or whatever, I just figured I was going to get my ass handed to me. So I think I developed nonchalance about it as a coping mechanism to always getting destroyed.

My in-laws are both competitive people. They played a lot of sports when they were younger and have told me many stories about how successful they were in their endeavors. Still now they are Michigan soccer referees and they have risen to great heights, probably due to their competitive nature. My father-in-law almost refuses to lose while playing games. It is a big joke in the family that if he loses he will instantly declare it to be a best of three competition. He will then raise it to 5, 7, and even one time a best of 9 when my brother-in-law and I were beating him so badly in cornhole. They aren’t jerks or sore losers or any of that. They just enjoy the competition, the sport of it. They like to play the games.

All four of their daughters played a lot of sports and I think all of them have multiple varsity letters. When I first started dating my wife, they all played on the same soccer team together. But I really don’t get the sense from any of them that they are very competitive people, at least not in the games we play as a family.

My wife is pretty similar to me, although she has told me that in her swimming days she could get pretty nasty. She does hate to play video games with me because I “hold her back”. In fact, when I first got the New Super Mario Bros game for the original Wii, I brought the Wii to her parent’s house (where she was still living) and we had a game night with her older sister and her fiancé at the time. My wife declared that she would only play the game with her soon to be brother in law and that myself and her sister had to watch. We weren’t good enough at the game to keep up. It is hilarious to think about, and I had a good time joking with her about it then, and that is the only game it ever happened with. But she was totally competitive about it.

Most of the time she doesn’t care about winning. We don’t try to beat each other in arguments. We don’t try to one up each other in parenting. We don’t engage in any competitions around the house; which is good for me because she would be dismantling me in every category.

My previous two serious girlfriends were not like that. They were competitive people and it didn’t work probably because of that reason.

I’m glad I was able to find someone who lacks the things I also lack.