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.


Dot. said...

There are games and then there are games worth winning, and the easiest thing to do when you fear you'll lose to someone else is to render his victory unimportant by pretending you never cared in the first place. We all do it; it's so much easier than having to take defeat on the chin.

In an ever more competitive world, it would never do to display weakness now would it? Nope, instead, shame the victor if his display of celebration is a mite more than Buddha might deem appropriate. Throw the equanimity card in his face.

I don't think we're very good at practicing Zen. Most of us just practice passive-aggression instead. :)

kiran said...

Of course, all this posturing merely serves to obscure the fact that, barring the first day's two games ( I'm guessing it was beginner's luck), you have yet to win a single game of Cataan. Muahaahaha!

Deepak said...

@kiran: I just love it when the stats from 5 completed games (involving 5 people) are tabulated as Deepak's wins vs. Deepak's losses.

In any case, I agree with you, being competitive is not the same as being talented. Now read the essay again.

Deepak said...

@Dot: right said mate!

Dot said...

I just read your comment to Kiran, and I take back everything I said. You're way too competitive and you need therapy. Get help.

Deepak said...

I know! I prefer calling it zen ;)