Winning Isn't Everything
I've been mulling that green haired sentiment since 3:00 yesterday (smile and wink to Ankur and TJ)...but here's how it plays out in my laser tag experience from last night...
I got to tag a little bit early because I wanted to grab dinner first. When I passed the lobby I saw a pretty decent looking crowd of competitors. And I zeroed in on one particular group inside...there was a group of very confident looking guys, all on dates and clearly ready to impress their ladies. I smiled. This is my favorite kind of competition. I feel kind of evil for saying that, but...
I went in with my favorite pack, Legend, and for the first time ever...the pack failed! I got as far as the first base with two of those guys on my heels and right there targeting me and my phaser was simply not firing. Ugh! I had to swap out the pack, but the game master didn't hear me so I just did it myself...and got locked out of the arena! OK, interesting tidbit I learned after the fact...it's only the red door that actually locks. But regardless, I went out to get Kevin to let me back in and I easily lost three minutes of game time during this whole thing, so I went in fighting extra hard to make up those lost points. And I did it. And it set the tone for the night.
I took the first two rounds by a pretty good margin and I could tell that after two games those guys were very much aware of me and were irritated by me. Fortunately, there was an infusion of fresh competition...and it was a solid group, close to 40 players for most of the night. And I went round after round pretty much doing the same thing I always do and enjoying the occasional overheard comment like...
"Probably that sniper chick."
"What?! She's the master!"
I smile whenever I hear stuff like that. However, I also think that it's gotten very easy to appear impressive here simply because I do this every week and am generally up against more casual players (no matter what they come in thinking) unless I'm joined by other tournament level players. Now, playing in tournaments has certainly put me in my place as far as serious competition goes. However, it puts some real perspective to even the most competitive public game night and I do appreciate being able to play at a higher level occasionally. Because frankly, I've come to the realization that winning (which did happen every round, another undefeated night) really isn't everything. Even though "I hate losing, I hate it!" (another green haired reference...get where I'm going with this guys ;) ...the truth is I really prefer playing against stronger players who give me a run for my money, even if that means I'm not always taking the win. It's way more interesting to not know for sure what the outcome will be. That's why I'm really enthused about the upcoming leagues and being able to step up with others who want to step it up. Because the win means more when you have to work for it.
I mentioned that I am re-reading one of my favorite light sci-fi books and I'm at the point where the hero is challenging for his place in the platoon, but being told there is nothing he is being asked to do that he is incapable of doing. It's just a matter of getting his mind right to believe in his abilities and worth. There's a parallel to be drawn between that and stepping up to a more competitive level with laser tag...in this book especially, there's a really specific parallel to that. I know it's one thing to be the top scoring player on a casual Saturday night, but I've gotten to the point where I have nothing to prove in this arena any longer. So my mission when I'm there now at this point is just simply to have fun, keep my skills sharp and not take it too seriously. Because at the end of a night when I've been on a winning streak I can even more clearly recognize that winning isn't everything.
...of course when I have some serious competition again it's game on! ;)
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