Let me begin this post by saying that in the Garman family I grew up in we learned that one never should allow a contender in any contest to beat you just because you think winning may hurt their feelings. I always thought it was a dignified maxim and I still do. When someone beats you, you want them to be able to know that they beat you at your best game, not that you went easy so it would be close.
One distant memory from my childhood that illustrates what can happen as a result of this involves one of my brothers -who will remain nameless – either throwing a punch at my Dad or locking himself in the bathroom (or both) after a friendly game of Old Maid (now that I think about it, it may have been my grandmother). Regardless, competition has a way of bringing the best and worst out of all of us.
As parents Annie and I have continued the tradition of healthy competition in our home. Haley can hold her own in a game of Princess Memory so we can often be found playing a round in the evening before the girls go off to bed. Let me just say, I cannot remember any evenings in the past where Annie has won, but if you know my wife she has a bit of an excited streak. Haley on the other hand has won a few times and is now addicted to the thrill of victory, so much so that the thought of losing can send her into a downward spiral.
So, there we were this evening. 42 cards, 21 matches available. Haley 3, Dad 5, Annie 4, Darcy 2. Haley had long since stopped cheering when others made a match and the tension was mounting. Annie’s turn……………….she made a match. She gets to go again…………another match and an excited cheer…………….a third match and the excitement only increases………..From there Annie ran the whole board with the excitement increasing exponentially as the victory was secured. I tried to model good sportmanship and cheer her on, but the dam of tears just couldn’t hold and Haley lost it. Ah, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Some lessons are learned easier than others…especially when you’re the first born.