You know those people who say, “Gym class is not the Olympics. Don’t try so hard!”? Well, I’m not one of those people. I’m the person in gym class who is trying hard, not for the sake of looking cool, but to win. I’m competitive in almost everything I do; it’s just in my nature. The negatives to being competitive are the other bad traits it brings out. Annoying, aggressive, and rude are just some of the many words that describe me while playing a simple game of badminton. Some of the thoughts that run through my mind during any game are Wow, you suck … I can make this play … I really hope these people don’t think I’m a monster. I try my best to play nice, but I don’t always succeed.
There goes the eighth run of the inning. I’m sick of this. Somebody make a play so we can get out of this horrendous inning! The outfielder, first baseman, and second baseman have all made errors. A grounder makes its way to the third baseman, but yet again, she makes an error.
As the oldest girl on the team, I try to be Miss Positive Patty for the younger girls to emulate. However, I tend to be more of a Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy. Throughout the inning I have been hiding my anger by whispering things under my breath while looking at the dirt. But now I’ve reached my limit.
I say to the third baseman in an annoyed voice, “Does anyone want to get out of this inning? Then start acting like it!” I immediately put my head down to try and calm myself down. I’m muttering to myself when I hear my teammate respond, “Stop yelling at me!” She is clearly holding back tears.
I can’t believe I made her cry. I feel so bad. Why am I so angry? It’s just a game.
It’s easier said than done to act like it’s “just a game.” I find myself apologizing for my anger often, but my actions never change.
If the situation is reversed and my team is doing well, I tend to be very annoying. I managed to make my entire English class hate me with one game of “Catchphrase.” My team made an epic comeback, and I was uncontrollably happy. Whenever someone got the answer right, I would bounce all over the room in joy. I was having fun, but my classmates were staring at me like I belonged in an insane asylum. Apparently, I’m the only person in class who gets excited about winning.
My competitiveness stretches into arguments. I will fight with you all day and night just to prove my point. My best friends, family, classmates, and even my middle school assistant principal have all lost arguments to me. I start arguments over small things, such as bananas. I won’t bore you with the details, but long story short, the banana was not a Spanish banana, but rather had a Spanish sticker on it. I try not to get myself into arguments that I won’t win. Losing and being wrong are two things that I don’t handle well.
I don’t blame anyone who hates me for being competitive. I hate the person I become. I apologize in advance to any future teammates or people who will come in the path of my competitiveness. I should probably try a relaxing hobby like painting or pottery, but where’s the fun in that?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.