My brother, Chad, is a pretty even-keeled guy, but when it comes to anything competitive, he kind of turns into a monster. I can’t tell you how many battles and arguments we had as kids when he was being completely unreasonable because I was beating him at something. Tennis and Trivial Pursuit come to mind immediately. Rules would suddenly change, line calls would begin to go exclusively in his favor. Try playing miniature golf with him sometime. If you somehow hit the ball off the green carpet he’ll rule it out-of-bounds, make you take a two-stroke penalty, and drop your ball from a club length back onto the course before you can resume play.
The trait seems to be inherited from my dad, who wouldn’t even let his kids win a game of Crazy Eights until we’d rightfully earned it. No coddling those four-year-olds who might want to taste victory even one out of every 25 games.
I’m quite competitive, but I don’t cheat. And if I lose, I don’t pout. And if I win, I don’t gloat.
My oldest though, seems to have a lot of Chad in him. David has never liked to lose. He didn’t even like losING. If he wasn’t the front-runner immediately the complaining and crying would begin. Sometimes, when playing a game of Sorry, I’d purposely manipulate the game so he’d get to send my guys back to Start. Just so I didn’t have to listen to his bitching.
He hasn’t changed. Baseball games, football games, professional, backyard, rec league or otherwise, any loss is always someone else’s fault. The referees, the umpires, the other team’s coach not playing by the rules, injuries, the other team cheating, the weather, the field conditions, never because he or his team were outplayed, or just weren’t as good that day.
Yesterday was Easter, and we spent it at home with just the fam. After church and brunch, I went outside to hide a bunch of plastic eggs for the kids to find. Because we’re all about equality, I made sure everyone had the same amount of eggs, with the same stuff in them. Everyone is assigned a color, and off they go. Eventually we’ll get to the point where it’s just a complete free-for-all when Justin and Alex get a little older. That will be interesting.
So they each had eight eggs to find. And this year I added four “finders keepers” purple eggs, up for grabs for anyone who found them. They set out. Little Alex was the first one to find all of his yellow eggs. He was so proud! Soon Justin found his last green egg. David, Cameron, and Barry, who was helping Penny find her pink eggs, each had one left.
David kept begging me to give him a hint about where his were. I said I honestly didn’t know, because I didn’t remember every place I hid something, or where I hid which colors, and I didn’t know which ones had already been found. I asked him if he’d found any along the fenceline. He went running over, and did what looked like a thorough search, and said there wasn’t anything there. I should point out that Cameron had already called out to David a couple of times when he saw one of his blue eggs.
But David swore there wasn’t anything over by the fence. Some time goes by, Barry finds Penny’s last pink egg, David finally finds his last one after I practically picked it up for him. Then he went to the backyard, and OH, wow, there IS one by the fence. And it’s orange. Cameron’s! It was hidden under some leaves, that’s why he didn’t see it earlier.
Of course he didn’t see it, because then Cameron would have found his before David. So it really irked David when I announced that Cameron ended up with the most eggs because he found two of the purple ones, and David and Justin had found one each. So David technically didn’t win at anything. After talking smack on Facebook about how it was “on.”
I kind of liked that maybe a little too much.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012