For most of my life, I could quite fairly (and, to be honest, kindly) be termed a jerk, jackass, or whatever harsh term you desire to put in there.
My competitive drive was second to none. There was no courtesy let the other guy compete, much less a "let them win" factor in my make-up.
I was constantly trash-talking while playing baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, board games, card games, eating games, sitting on the front porch swing, sleeping, whatever I was doing.
And a lot of it was...not nice. I had a very sharp, bitter, harsh tongue.
These are not things I am proud of by the way, they are an admission of the deep character flaws I have battled all my life.
I like to think that maturity and a strong desire to embody the person produced by followers of Scripture have changed me for the better. Seldom do I blurt out the vicious, often personal remarks meant to bring a laugh even if they demeaned another person.
I have worked hard to become a laid back, easy-going guy. It is notable that my vendors often remark that I am one of their favorite people to deal with because even when things go wrong I do not get upset or yell or take it out on them.
Anyone reading this who has known me for most of my life please take a moment to re-read that last paragraph. Yes, this is me we are talking about. That is how much I have changed. And I argue that is a good thing.
In fact, so great has been the change that at least three of my co-workers, including the vp of our division, have gone out of their way to tell me I am too nice and have wanted to handle certain issues themselves because of it.
Ihave grown to the point where I not only can allow others to compete in athletic endeavors, I can even 'let" them win, a phrase that for most of my life would have been an outright lie.
I fear the switch is on the verge of flipping, however.
Between work and a sports league I joined, I find myself regressing.
Example; 7 weeks ago a racquetball league started. They ranked me in the "D" portion (there are "A", "B", "C" and "D" classes) but moved me up to "C" because they needed more people there and I was the class of the D-league.
And I proceeded to wreck the C division. Only one "C" player has beat me, and he has beaten me twice in about 10 tries. I have never scored more than 2 against any A level player and in about 10 tries have only beaten two "B" players, once each...ironically the first and second seeded players in the B division...
Anyway, I just found out the playoffs will be held Monday. I am in the C/D division and, because I missed lots of league nights, am the second seed.
In other words, in my mind, I am the prohibitive favorite to win since the number one seed is a guy I beat 80% of the time.
The problem is this; instead of being relaxed, happy to be playing a game and working off excess weight (I have seen 215 on the scale 3 times, my next goal...and a tough one it is proving to be...)I a nervous. I want to win. I need to win. I plan to win. I need to win.
And that makes me sad. When I "need" to win, I stop enjoying the game. I get upset with myself if I make a bad shot or miss an easy shot. I tense up. I stop enjoying the game and only care about the outcome. I compliment the other guy less. It is all about me and winning.
In other words, if I win the tournament it is a loss because I will have not enjoyed it and if I lose it will be a loss because I will be upset with myself for not beating guys I believe I should beat.
Which means the switch, the whole nice guy persona I have worked so hard and so long to develop, is in danger.
Ah, if only I had self control. Here is hoping Ifind a way to relax, enjoy the game and not worry about the outcome. Then I will know I have made actual, real demonstrable progress. I am just scared that will not happen.
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