It’s Just a Game

I got so many Technical Fouls in C and B-League Intramural Basketball. One time, I threw the ball right at a guy’s face and shoved him off the court. Another time, I got thrown out because of a hard foul. I was lucky to not get into any fights, as my testosterone levels seemed to skyrocket for the occasion. I always look back and realize how stupid I must have looked. Sometimes my friends would be laughing on the sideline or would have to calm me down. I would call them idiots and tell them to shut up, making them laugh even more.

I have a problem. I am too competitive, past the point of being remotely acceptable. No matter the sport or game, if it involves winning at all, I tend to become a jerk.  Once people see this side of me, they don’t really want to play games with me anymore. It is sometimes funny in retrospect, but this is a very serious issue that I need to deal with.

It is hard to say how I developed this habit, but I can’t remember it being any other way. As a kid, I played all kinds of organized sports. I was pretty good, or at least had a good understanding of the nature of the sport, and I knew it. I always wanted everyone else to play intelligently, but when they didn’t, I sure let them know.

Nowadays, it is usually more about fairness and integrity. If people play the game like it is supposed to be played, and are aware of what is actually going on, I stay calm. If they recognize luck versus skill, I am okay. If, for example, they think a lucky guess or a lucky roll, etc., implies intelligence or skill, I get very offended and take it way too personally. Even if they aren’t really serious. In Trivial Pursuit, I usually get more questions right than my opponent, yet I lose more than I should because I can’t roll the right number to get to the middle for the final question. In Monopoly, I consistently don’t land on properties to buy at the beginning, which usually leaves me at a loss later. I focus on these things like they are real life, and other people sometimes get very offended and overwhelmed with my complaining nature if things aren’t going my way.

This applies to:

Yoga mat baseball in the house, a game Nic came up with. I argued balls and strikes with Frank.

Wiffleball home run derby. I got in a fight once because of a disputed HR call.


Church basketball.

The annual snow flag football game with church people and kids.

Ultimate Frisbee.

NBA Live.

MLB: The Show. I am so critical of horribly made games.

Virtua Tennis. I broke up with an ex-girlfriend for a little while over this before.

Bezzerwizzer. The most idiotic rules for an otherwise fun trivia game.


Skip-Bo. I almost broke up with that same ex-girlfriend over this multiple times.


Phase 10. People have ridiculous luck against me.

Dreidel. In AP Chem class, we bet money on this instead of doing our experiments.


Poker. Where do I begin?

Pinewood Derbies. I finished 2nd three times, which anyone else would have loved.

Keyboarding class. I had to get the highest WPM.

Spelling Bees.

Accelerated Reader points. I even took AR tests for books I never read just to get more points.

Mock investment portfolio school contests.

The list continues forever. I’m not going to delve into this that much, because I have a bunch of theories as to why I act this way, but it mainly comes down to awareness. I tend to seize the moment in any form of competition because it is the only time I really can let loose and forget about viewing things from an onlooker’s perspective. I find the actual me enjoying games, so I try to enjoy them and win them as if my life depended on it. Because it’s the only thing I know, the only time that I can live my own life. If you were in my shoes, and had so much trouble focusing on or caring about anything else, you might do the same. My distance disappears when I play games, so I go all out because I cannot get enough of the feeling. So when people say, “it’s just a game,” I notice a sense of disagreement inside my head. It’s all I’ve got, so to me, it is not just a game. It is very, very real so I treat it more importantly than everyone else. Unfortunately, that rubs a lot of people the wrong way, as it should.

Solution:  Getting this feeling from other parts of life so I don’t have to rely on just competition. So I can realize games aren’t life.

Yes, I am capable of having fun playing games and not getting too into them if I just try hard enough. And if I do get a little too competitive, I hope people can realize it is nothing personal; I am capturing that sensation at the expense of acceptable social behavior.

I enjoy games. And I haven’t scared everyone off yet…


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