I myself am an extremely competitive person. Just ask anyone who has ever played any sport with me. I HATE to lose. Hate it. I am not just talking about skiing, the sport I have competed in since I was 5. I am talking about soccer, basketball, volleyball, wally-ball, anything. If it is my first time playing a particular game, or I don’t play said game very often, guess what? I still care an insane amount. Even if I am downright awful at whatever I am playing I still put 500% into it so I don’t lose.
And then there is the other side of the spectrum. People who play for the fun of the game and don’t mind if they win or lose. Points don’t really matter because its just a game after all and when it is over it won’t really matter either way. Which do you think is the correct mind set?
A few years back I was having a conversation with the mens head US Ski Team coach, Sasha Rearick. I was all about getting the inside scoop so I asked him one very pointed question. “What does it take to be a champion?” Among the 5 things he listed one of them was the competitive spirit. To completely abhor losing. Well, I thought at the time, at least I’ve got that one in the bag!
On the other hand, some people really hate playing sports with me. It’s all good and fun at the beginning but if we fall behind in the score I get quiet. I get serious. The tension that reverberates off of me is palpable, I swear to god. I want to win and if people are messing around I don’t turn out to be the sweetest of souls just then. Hahaha, I can laugh about it after, (about 10 minutes to two hours after), but when I am in the heat of the moment it could get ugly. Which leads me to the question, is it too much? Am I getting so far into the game that I am making what is inherently suppose to be fun, not so anymore?
Our group is chock-full of competitive people. How could there not be? We are 12 elite athletes looking to become professional. So when we get together for a game of… saaaay, wally-ball for instance, it does at times lose that “fun” factor. (Unless we win of course, then its a lot of fun.) But there are those who do it for the fun and those who do it to win. Words are exchanged, I start getting “serious”, and tempers start to flare. I start cussing at my teammates to “get their f-ing heads into the game” and one of mine yells at one of theirs saying, “no way that hit the ceiling!!” It is quite the show to say the least but could we even change our nature if we tried? Would we want to? I kind of love the way I am even if I take it harder than most when I lose. The competitive spirit in me is so intense and I love the competition even more, I think, than winning.
Either way, there is no doubt that the opposites in this scenario clash, sometimes to an extreme. Which mind set is better? Who wins and loses this argument? We may never know.
PS- The wally-ball match was won, 2 games to 1 today incase you were wondering. Devin, Ty, Tyler and I RULE! The other team… not so much. Hahaha