Relationship, Competition and the Real Winner

 That's the way, baby!

          Monday, Monday! We hope you are getting up today saying ‘Wow, another glorious Monday morning!’ If not, join the rest of the un-medicated world. We kid. Life is what we make of it. However, if you live a life of one-upmanship then life is one big obstacle course. We aren’t ones to brag but few people are as competitive as we are. Don’t believe us? Wanna bet?


          Lee says: I have addiction on both sides of my DNA equation. My parents are extremists in everything, from politics to passion. My parents are also the most competitive people that I know. They are ridiculously hard workers and even a vacation looks like a sprint instead of nice walk.


          My Dad was a pitcher for a semi pro baseball team in Mexico. He had escaped the harsh realities of the new communist regime in Cuba and tried to rebuild a life in Mexico (which only lasted a few months until my Mom said Hell Nah-We’re moving to the U.S.!) His baseball genes passed down to me and my two siblings. We all have this innate ability to catch, throw and bat that could only be considered uncanny. The other gene he passed down to us was the win-at-all-cost code.


          The need to be winners was a trait that my parents fostered and reinforced. Wussiness and sportsmanship were eschewed unless you went too far and ended up benched or, as was my fate, kicked out of the games all together. You could push and fight to win, be a total dick on the field but don’t get yourself kicked out. That level of stress and pressure to perform was natural for us and we had no concept of how to tone it down. A friendly family softball game in the park was met with the same intensity as game 7 of a playoff, with the score close, with two outs in the ninth inning. We had no sense of importance since all competition was life or death.


          As I got older I realized after a series of trainings that my need to compete was sick. The win-lose scenario was my modus operandi and that would not change. I lived it in everything. In my family, we all fought for the limelight, the attention and God help you if you were sick because someone else in the family was sicker. It would go something like this:


          Me: ‘I have strep throat and a fever’.


          Family member: ‘I have malaria and the gangrene has eaten my foot.’


          Can you imagine wanting to win that competition? I can.


          Competition is such a natural part of our existence that we aren’t aware how this is tearing us apart. For someone to win, someone must lose. Today even politics are played like a contentious game of volleyball. You have people crying that the candidates they don’t like will convert people to cannibalism and others creating doomsday scenarios from school lunch initiatives. If they make their point, they win. The losers, who are the majority of the country, quietly sits by and, losing time and again, grows more resentful after every loss. Is it possible that we can all win? Is it possible that we can work it out so instead of the typical win-lose scenario we can have a win-win? Am I being too ‘We are the World’?


          I guess I’m not playing anymore. I refuse to get sucked in either way. I want to do my best, have fun and go home content that I played hard. If I do this, I win.  


          Paul says: I take on competition like I’m a contestant in the movie ‘Running Man’. It is all about staying alive. Yes, it is scary but I equate competing with survival. It’s surprising that Lee and I haven’t killed each other is a Pink Panther and Kato, jump out of the closet and attack each other, kind of way.


          So, how do you compete? Please, please, please say ‘I don’t compete’. That is my favorite answer. And it is almost always bullshit. ‘I never compete. If people get competitive, I leave.’ You see, that is still competing. Getting pissed and taking your ball is competing. Standing on the sidelines because you are not good enough to play is competing. If you do not know how you compete, then you are competing. Trust me. I’m right. I win.

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