Growing up, I didn’t play many sports. My parents tried to enroll me in a variety of them — baseball, soccer, diving — but they never took. I was never motivated enough to compete. Perhaps it was because I’m not very confident in my hand-eye coordination. Or maybe it’s some aspect of self-esteem. Or perhaps it was simply because catching a ball flying at your face is hard, and ducking seems just as sensible as sticking your hand in front of your face to catch the soaring sphere. Then I met my brother-in-law. He is tall, blond, amicable, and very competitive. Whether it’s a lawn game, or a friendly round of Yahtzee (which I lost at three times in a row one Christmas), he gets really into it. That’s when the elbows started flying (figuratively only, of course). That’s when I found my chutzpah. That’s when I discovered it wasn’t about being competitive or not, it was about what I was competing for: bragging rights at family dinner.
Image: Simer Haer/The Cascade