In the Game of Life, there are winners and losers, but unlike in the board game of Life, who is a winner and who is a loser is more a matter of opinion than what number you land on or what career you choose. We all are born and we all will die, those are the two certainties we have. What happens between one’s birth and one’s death is truly a gamble.
Games, though. This is what I would like to reflect on. Around the holidays, I started thinking on this topic quite a lot. I am a lover of board games. Sitting with family and friends and playing them seems like a nostalgic way of spending time together and having fun. I feel like people don’t play board games enough these days. They are good old fashioned fun, aren’t they? But then you throw in competition and things can get crazy.
I’m all for a little competition, games wouldn’t be fun if you didn’t at least TRY to win, but I guess I’ve been a little naive all my life. You see, I had old fashioned parents who taught me at a young age that playing games are for fun and it’s “Not whether you win or lose, it’s HOW you play the game.” If you play a game, trying your best and not cheating and then you lose, you can be a good sport, congratulate the winner and move on, knowing you did your best and you had fun, right? I definitely was taught not to cheat, because who wants to be the winner when inside they knew it was because they cheated?
Well, there goes my naivety. I seem to have been caught in this la la happy land where everyone else has the same attitude about games. I was reminded that there are people who were taught that winning matters and losing makes you a failure, basically. My first thought at hearing this attitude is, “How sad!” I can’t imagine growing up and feeling like a failure every time I lost. I guess I got lucky, because heaven knows, I sucked at sports pretty much. When it comes to those kind of games, I would be numero uno at failing. Board games, I loved. I’ve always been book smart so brainy games were good for me and games of luck and chance make it equal for all! If you know anything about my childhood, you know I was bullied constantly though, so I already had the “feeling like a failure” thing down pat. Anymore of feeling like a failure and I can say with almost 100% certainty, I would probably not be here to blog today. Morbid? Yes, but honest.
So I experienced a hard core competitor for the first time. Ok, so I have obviously met people that were competitors but this was like the grand poobah of them all. Ugh, hard core competitor/king of the braggarts. NOT fun, not fun at all. So…what happens when a nice girl who just wants to have fun is paired with someone who just wants to win? Well, interesting results for sure.
At first, I kept my good spirits and overlooked the bragging, knowing I had fun, so who cares, right? Then, it started to get to me. You know how when someone yawns and then suddenly everyone does? Well, it was like that, the competitive spirit and the bragging got to me. I could feel it changing me and making me CARE about winning. I came up with a game I for sure could win and challenged the competitor. I won, but the competitor seemed to not even consider it a real game amongst all the other games. No surprise there, right?
As time went on, I could feel myself turning into a braggart back whenever I won something and trying to rub it back in his face. When I lost, the brags from the competitor got to me like never before and I found myself enraged and upset. But days after the games ended, cooler heads prevailed and I realized what had happened. I let someone make me feel inferior without my consent, basically. I had been taught about the true meaning of games, yet, I let someone make me blind to that truth. I hate this fact and I want it never to happen again.
Which, could be why, I have had such a strong reaction to sports fans lately. My husband is a huge sports fan with his favorite teams and I just root for whoever he roots for…but on the sidelines…in the other room…watching something else. I have friends that have their own favorite teams and some of them clash with my husbands. Men like to brag about their teams and bash the other teams and somehow, they can still laugh about it and remain friends. Maybe this is why I’m not good with sports. If my friends were constantly dogging my favorite shows and books, etc., I would be upset and hurt. My friends don’t have to like everything I like, but if they know I like something, the least they could do is show respect, right? Which is why I don’t get sports games and I don’t get how fans get mad when their team loses and bash the other teams to make up for it. As I recently remarked on my Facebook, it reminds me of the childish behavior I saw in elementary when a little girl would get upset and take it out on everyone else. It just seems immature to me. But maybe it’s just a guy thing, who knows?
I have decided that I may never understand this intense need to win above everything else OR the need to bash others because your team did bad, and I think that’s ok. Maybe I’m not meant to understand. I’m fine with the way I look at games….Board games, Video games, Sports games, etc. In the big scheme of life, it makes no difference whether you win or lose in games……it’s how you lived your life or played your game.
Did you live your life to the best of YOUR abilities? Did you stand up for yourself and your beliefs? Did you get by in life through hard work, dedication, and through your own merits or did you cheat your way through? Did you get through on some one else’s coat tails? Because when your time is up in the game of Life, it’s not how much money you have or how famous you are or even how smart or good looking you are…the only thing that really matters is HOW YOU PLAYED THE GAME.
So….How are you playing the game?