Competition-nature vs nurture

This is a true story.  

About being competitive.  

Well, it’s about me being competitive-not in everything and not all the time but I do have a streak running through me.  I’ve been thinking about where that comes from…the desire to win or do better. Is it my place in the birth order?  Is it the pep talks my Dad used to give us when we went to play sports or is it just innate.  For me it’s not about being competitive in everything and with everyone but there are some things that trigger a drive in me.  Sports trigger that drive of course-why play if you aren’t trying to do well.  I have openly competed in a number of sports over the years-softball, volleyball, curling, squash, racquetball, and so on.  Elite athlete I am not but I do like the adrenalin rush.

One exception (except for tournaments) is golf (supposedly).  They say golf is a game to play, not a game to win.  You work to do better than you did last time-not to do better than your golf partners.

Informal races

I find myself racing when there is no race.  It happens several times a year when I am cycling.  Particularly if I catch up to and pass a male cyclist (it doesn’t happen routinely)…on occasion the cyclist will note this mature woman just passed him and likely thinks ‘well that won’t do’ and he seems to speed up.  Well, someone might as well have fired a starting pistol for I am off and working as hard as I can to stay ahead.  I passed a man on roller blades once and thought it would be a piece of cake to put distance between him and me.  Not so.  It took everything I had to stay in front of him before we finally went our separate ways. I had to stop then and catch my breath.  I often wonder if the other person is competing too or if it’s just in my head.  On a long walk, I will try to walk faster than people on the opposite sidewalk!  I can live with myself though-what’s wrong with a game in your head that helps you get a workout.  If I didn’t imagine some of these things I’d like saunter along at a tortoise’s pace.  

Competition is at its best when the competitors are relatively evenly matched or appropriate handicaps are applied to level the playing field.  It usually means that people have spent about the same amount of time learning and practicing the game and their skills are fairly similar.

So why does it get my goat

My husband and I play the game of golf together a few times a year.  That’s about all he plays.  He seldom practices, seldom takes lessons.  I golf 20 to 30 times a year and I take lessons, I even practice and when we go out to golf-his score bests mine.  It drives me nuts!!!  I think I’ll ask him to go cycling…he doesn’t cycle much and I’ll let him think he can cycle faster than I can and then……


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