Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blame it on the boys' school

I have a theory that men who studied in boys-only schools tend to be, on average, a little more competitive at sports than others. In school, I was obnoxiously competitive at football and ended up pissing off bigger guys, not a good idea considering my slight build. Retaliations had involved spilling of blood (mine usually)- and I don't mean that metaphorically. To this day, even when the setting is idyllic Goa, beach football games involving my school friends and me contain a lot of posturing, jeering, and sledging, and the trash-talking only stops when it's time to start drinking again. In the cricket games we play at work, I secretly relish the bitter rivalries and provocative matchups- Northies vs. Southies, Dev vs. QA, etc.. I've convinced myself that aggression on the sports arena has a purpose. All that wasted testosterone keeps us from waging real wars, I believe.

Yet in later life, I've tried hard to rein that instinct in because outside of boys' schools equanimity is rated rather highly. I have been fairly successful in staying detached while playing any sport. However, chronic afflictions have a way of showing up every so often, like when I play Settlers of Catan with my friends I can't help making a rat-race out of it. I notice that in the real world cutthroatiness is met with clique-ry, mass resistance, and sometimes. elaborate displays of sabotaging one's own games. Our contests, then, usually descend into a game of proving how little we care about Settlers of Catan. And I want to win that game too! Quick, I need some zen.
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