Thursday, December 9, 2010

Embracing my dark side

Here’s a modern-day bad word in some circles: competition. 
Maybe the word shines where you live, but around here it’s tainted. When my oldest was little, he was in two beginner sports. Both had scheduled games, but the adults emphasized “we don’t keep score”. My family figured we could suffer through that, but then came T-ball. 
Imagine the point of view of a competitive 5-year-old who’s been watching ballgames since he was a baby. Finally he is no longer a spectator. Finally he gets to play. He’s in the infield. The batter makes contact. He fields the ball (!) and throws to first (!!). Before the batter makes it down the line, the first baseman catches it (!!!) and touches the bag (hallelujah!). Imagine the joy, and then the heartache. In this league, even if by some miracle you managed to get a kid out, he or she was not out. Every child batted every inning, and ran the base paths, regardless of the play of the other team.
Somehow this was going to protect kids from getting their feelings hurt, but all it did for my son was leave him confused and upset. This was six years ago, and look at how I can still foam about it. Sad, really, but by now you’ve guessed that my son got his spirit from at least one of his parents. It’s true, I am competitive. I’m a girl and one of them artsy types, but I like sports. I like to battle and I like to win. 
NaNoWriMo pushes participants toward their goal with two competitive elements. I discussed the line and bar graph in an earlier post, and they stir a little of the competitive fire. You see yourself up against time, up against a goal. This is good for the inner conqueror, but for your inner competitor, the website offers the word count of your buddies. I loved being able to peek in on their reported numbers. Sure, I felt happy for them, but seeing them race toward their goal made me want to reach mine even more. 
So thanks to all my NaNoWriMo buddies. Especially the one that called me a grabastic puke. Your trash talk (and success) was an extra push.


  1. Now I'm looking up "grabastic"...

  2. :) Think movie quotes. Thanks for stopping by.