Friday, December 24, 2010

The Competitive Spirit

I enjoy the Seinfeld episode where Jerry takes us down memory lane to his high school days. He reunites through precarious circumstances with his athletic rival Duncan Meyer. Duncan asserts that during a schoolyard battle over a decade before, Jerry cheated to win a footrace between the two. Duncan claims that Jerry had a head start in this history-defining race and challenges Jerry to a rematch. Jerry has lived for years bearing the title of champion and is weary of a re-race for fear that his infamous race-winning legacy will die. He boldly declares, “I choose not to run!

I, much like Jerry, fear the recoils of a failed accomplishment. As a youngster, I enjoyed playing video games. I was content playing the excellent games provided for me on my Super Nintendo. Mario and I had many great days of princess-saving and swimming through pipes. When I reached middle school, I made some friends that also enjoyed some electronic entertainment. I was invited to play what I thought was going to be some more blissful plumbing. To my surprise, there was a new invention. Multiple people could now play games simultaneously. It was no longer me against Bowser; it was me against my friends.

To say it was an even matchup is a completely misguided statement. I was blasted from one end of the facility to the other every five seconds. My trusty shells and fireballs were replaced with a pistol that was lucky to get a shot off before my screen turned red. I was obviously not fit to be a secret agent. I thought things would get better once we put in a game that included my comrade Mario. The game lived up to its name and fists, hammers, and giant fire-breathing dragons smashed me repeatedly.

The world of gaming was no longer the same. I could no longer ‘try try again’ until I succeeded. I did my best and I had more than enough practice because my friends loved to invite me over for target practice. Oh, I’d ask for help and advice and they would give it to me – by showing me how it was done. I did do one thing right – I continually sacrificed myself for the enjoyment of others. My friends were the happiest people in the world.

I decided that I was too far behind in the set of current popular games. I saved up and bought a top-of-the-line, newly released Nintendo GameCube. I stayed away from the type of game I had learned to loose, and got the new Tony Hawk game. I played it by myself and enjoyed the days of personal achievement.

The day arrived when my friends urged me to game with them again. They were desperate for blood and they knew that I would be the release they needed. With the cards in my hand, I issued the skater’s challenge. They accepted and gaming ensued. With confidence and experience at my fingertips, my friends were baffled. I, like Jerry, was accused of having a head start. They took to practicing, but it made no difference. I had already mastered the techniques and lifted the target from my back.

New games have emerged and new challenges have been made, but I stand firm and emphatically decree, “I choose not to play!” I am no longer the entertainment. I am a champion, head start or not.

Happy Festivus.

1 comment:

Dallin Webb said...

I'm glad that you have stopped hiding from the world.