I am a competitive person.
If I go to the gym, you can rest assured that I am looking at the settings on the treadmill/spin bike/elliptical machine next to me. As neurotic as it may sound, I don’t want to feel like I’m being “beat” by the person I’ll never see again working out on the next machine over.
Now, don’t confuse this with meaning that I’m overly athletic. I was a cheerleader. And, since I didn’t grow up in Texas, I wasn’t that kind of cheerleader. The average 1.5 cheerleading competitions my school attended every year were not of the caliber that made it onto ESPN. Heck, I don’t think that they even made the eleven o’clock local news. No, we pretty much just jumped up and down and screamed until we lost our voices. Good times. Cute outfits. Not overly athletic.
Ahhh…but church sports. It is only as I look back as an adult that I see just how much my competitive personality was sprouting there. My church had a very organized basketball program. We had a season. We had a schedule to play against the other congregations in the area. We held practices and ran plays.
If I remember correctly, we won the playoffs all six years that I played.
We played well together as a team (for the most part). But we were, ahem, aggressive. Actually, I remember one of the refs once yelling at us that we gave him more attitude than the boys. We regularly fouled out players. Heck, we intentionally did it when we thought a foul could get us an advantage. We’d just plan out who would do the fouling so as to lose the least important players for the remainder of the game.
I remember one week, showing up for a game despite the fact that I had been vomiting for three solid days prior. I was white as a sheet, could barely stay upright, and had lost about seven pounds from the puking. As it happened, several of our girls couldn’t make it to the game—I played, or we forfeited.
I didn’t take a break that whole game.
I really don’t play a lot of sports anymore, what with constantly being either pregnant or taking care of newborns for the past several years. So I don’t usually think about that weird competitiveness that comes out in me when I am doing something athletic.
It was a good thing I was pregnant tonight.
Our youth had a combined Young Men/Young Women activity this evening. They played indoor kickball. It is amazing that no one ended up with a concussion.
One of the young men playing the game decided to take an intimidation approach with the opposing team’s kickers. As soon as the ball was rolled, he would run right in front of and towards the kicker. Kicker after kicker would mess up out of fear of hitting him with the ball.
One of our leaders accidentally did peg him at one point. Her face showed sheer mortification and she repeatedly yelled “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” while running to first base. (Hmmmm…come to think of it, she did still run, so maybe she didn’t feel quite that bad after all.)
As I watched, I knew exactly how I would be inclined to react if it were me.
I just kept imagining stepping up to the plate and calmly explaining to that young man the point value I had assigned to his body parts. Five for a knee cap. Ten for the head. Just to make it clear that, should he choose to run in front of it, his proximity to the path of the ball would make absolutely no difference to me. Quite frankly, I’d see him less as a potential casualty and more as an interesting target. Because, when someone plays a game that way, it’s a challenge.
And I’m just that competitive.
And the people I go to church with are now questioning the wisdom of allowing me to work with the youth. 😉