Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sunday Scribblings #88

Another interesting thought provoking entry brought to you by Sunday Scribblings.

The subject....Competition.

On the surface, the prompt did not seem that relevant to me and my thoughts, life, my being. Yet, when I am scrounging around for something to write about I returned the site and thought, what was I thinking!! I have a long history with being competitive and have the scars to prove it!


It all began in grammar school in a small two room school house where I realized I would never receive the best grades in the class no matter what I did, no matter how smart I thought I was, no matter what the subject, no matter how hard I tried. Her name was BKA and I loved her as much as I despised her. I competed for the Nuns attentions, grades, who got to the swing set first, who ate lunch with who under the sliding board, boyfriends from the meager selection we had out of our class of seven, (of which five were girls)(meaning Tom & Mac were in great demand) with this pretty demure girl from the country, a farmers daughter. We even fought (because isn't that what competition will turn into when you are eight and nine) over who was our best friend. We traded Missy back and forth like we traded school supplies, (trading supplies was one of our great passions and a coveted tiny red pen that had three ascending bubbles on it, much like three marbles, was the highest prize of all changing hands every several days)(I am remembering this stuff from over 40 years ago, the attached emotion is still so raw). She left our school before eight grade and nothing seemed right in the school, like the earth had deviated from its axis.

After that it was competitive swimming where I excelled, which surprised no one more than me, in the back stroke. I was good, very good, but now I was thrown into a bigger pool (no pun intended) of competitors, much larger than my grammar school universe, and the best I could do was to place seventh in the state competition when I was a Sophomore in HS. Lost interest after that.....I remember my Dad marveling at how when we would all approach the start how I was the smallest, slightest, least muscular and intimidating of all...yet I would kick ass (my words, not his)!

Then I didn't care about anything for awhile because it was the 1970's and I was in college.

Then it was the 1980's and I had to return to college and get a degree while attending night school because I had messed up so bad during my first attempt at majoring in FUN rather than a degree. And man oh man, did I ever want to prove myself as a scholar. I could not believe how I coveted having the highest grades in the class.....and I mean the curve setting grades.....and how I studied and studies and studied.

I did okay and at times, I did kick ass in the class room too.

Everyday I spent working for the Beverage Company involved some type of competition. I grew very weary.

It is at this point that I should be able to reflect and have some profound ending summary about how winning is not all it is cracked up to be. How we all compete yet we all can't be Top Dog. How it makes you stronger to stretch and try. How it builds character.

Yet all I can think of is Dirty Harry's famous line....

"A man's got to know his limitations."

And learn to live with them.


sunnyside46 said...

interesting insights....
competition...I always refused to play that game at all...too insecure as a little child told by parents I would never be as good as others, (literally) They believed it was important not to make your child conceited and boy, did they succeed at that. As I got older, I told myself I didn't need to be the best at anything, that I knew my worth in my heart...I wonder if I have ever allowed myself to have an honest emotion
hmmmm...thanks for getting me thinking!

gaboatman said...

I really enjoyed reading this entry.  I was a competetive swimmer in high school, too.  My crowning achievement was a sixth place in the Southeastern Regionals.  I liked your quote from Dirty Harry, LOL!

st0rmwhispers said...

I like this entry....reminds me of how I never competed in sports because I was only good....not great.

I was one of THOSE....Y'know the one's who say 2nd place is just the first loser....

Having to be the best severely limits a person and sometimes its better to be last in the race than not run at all.

I wish I could have been ok with limitations.....In school I only competed academically, where I knew I excelled rather than expand my horizons in art or sport.

I grew up though and now I love playing (but still sucking big time) at volleyball....but I still try to get picked by the BEST team....some things never change.

mtrib2 said...

I enjoyed reading about your childhood being from a small school.  I remember clearly the time while sliding down the ice covered hill with our shoes as we would take off our rubber snap boots so our leather soles would act as ski's.  We would see who could slide the furthest.  Everyone was lined up and it was exciting beyond belief for us boys.  If someone took a fall that would cause our excitement to peak.  Then recess was over and we would head back indoors.  That is where I remember much less!  Also playing marbles in the gravel area in a circle and winning other kids 'cat's eye's' which I would put in my leather pouch I hung from my belt during the warm weather days.  I believe it was the 4th grade the I was appointed a 'crossing guard' for the young kids and wore a diagonal stap across my chest and it also buckled around my waist.  After school I went to the street intersection leading a line of kids with another 'guard' and we held traffic for them to cross the streets.  We proudly wore our folded up belts during school attached to our regular belt.  You brought back some meaningful memories!    mark

suzypwr said...

LMAO! So, did you win?