This all started at a young age. My only sibling was my sister, three years older than me. When I was at that just-beginning-to-walk stage (never mind that it lasted for several years), she was a wild and running four-year-old. My dad made a lot of home movies when I was young and the common theme amongst them all is that they show my sister as a whirling dervish running over me and knocking me to the floor. Eventually, and you can see this in the movies, I learned to just sit down whenever she approached me. It was less painful that way. Sort of like how puppies in a litter will establish a pecking order and eventually the weaker ones will just become very submissive, cowering in the corner of the box as the bigger pups roll by. That was me whenever my sister came around.
Okay, I painted a pretty pitiful picture there. I may be exaggerating a little bit ... but not much. Several years of painful and debilitating electrical shock therapy behind me, I am doing better ... I think.
Once I started school, I quickly (and painfully) discovered that there was not an athletic bone in my body. If I had any inkling at all of being competitive in school, it was all shot to heck by this discovery. Remember field day at school? The athletic kids are chosen to run marathons and pole vault and throw softballs. I, on the other hand, was chosen to do things like the potato sack race and the water balloon toss.
And then there was junior high gym class. It involved a lot of dodge ball and a lot of getting chosen last for teams. My friend and I always knew we'd never be on the same team because we'd be the last two chosen. He would end up on one team and I'd end up on the other.
In high school, I managed to only take gym class one semester the entire four years. Not sure how I managed that but I did. I had one bright moment in high school gym when I hit a triple while playing baseball. Of course, the only reason it was a triple was because I happened to hit the ball to the worst kid on the other team and he totally flubbed it.
My lack of competitiveness probably isn't very beneficial in business. If I have an opportunity to help a competitor get a project (assuming it's obvious that we won't get it), I will do so every time.
I can be competitive around the office, though. I know it. I like to be right. I need to work on that. I try to remind myself to be more open to others' opinions and respect them for what they have to offer but I struggle with pride and that manifests itself in unhealthy competitiveness.
Well, before you now, I confess also that my competitive spirit comes out once a year at a particular time. Pinewood Derby time. I know what you're thinking -- how could I get competitive over a bunch of Cub Scouts building cars out of pine blocks and racing them down a track? Well, if you've never been involved with a Pinewood Derby, I have to tell you something. The boys aren't really involved. Yes, they may choose the color of their car and they may place it up on the track, poised to fly down the ramp, but, fact is, the race is all about the Dads.
Unfortunately, there is usually one boy whose dad doesn't help him and that boy ends up with a very rectangular car with wheels on it, all askew. That particular car usually doesn't even make it to the finish line. The boy is upset and his dad tries to make him feel better by saying "But you did it all yourself, son. You should be proud of that." And then the next year the dad figures out how to build a car that really kicks butt.
This year is my second Pinewood Derby. (Okay, it's Evan's second Pinewood Derby.) I think we came in third place last year. We did get the award for best design though which was cool because the design of the car was completely Evan's.
This year, he wanted it to look like Jeff Gordon's car so we made our best attempt at that. When assembling the car, I worked a lot with the wheels and "axles" because, aside from having the right weight, I think that the wheels and axles are the main keys to Pinewood performance.
I keep warning Evan that you just never know how well your car will do against the others ... trying to prepare him (okay, myself) for the possibility that we won't do well in the race.
Deep down, though, I want to make all the other dads cry. LOL
Wish us luck!