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Don’t we want to win?

“Don’t we want to win?”

Apparently I asked the wrong question at a recent gathering,

It is funny, we can be all loving and sweet, but when the games start, it is another story.

My son-in-law and I are competitors, especially when there is a dollar bet on the table, the rest of the family will bow out. No one else in the family cares if they win or lose. They play these mindless games like Chicken Foot or Thirty-One where there is no strategy. They are just having fun.

To me the fun is in the winning. So, apparently I have a problem.

I say, “Why play, if I can’t win?”

My daughter says, “We are just having fun. Mother, you turn into this beast when you play.”

I say, “After the game, I’ll be sweet and nice, but during the game, forget it.”

My son-in-law and daughter threw a party for family and friends. I stepped into it again. It was a big shrimp boil. The shrimp and crab legs were boiling in the pot and the conversation was apparently simmering among some of the guests when I walked up.

I met the new football coach for the high school football team. We were introduced. He said, “Are you as sweet as your daughter?”

I said, “No, she is sweeter than I am.” A few laughed.

Some of the parents, grandparents and the coach were talking football when I came into the conversation. I threw out my favorite player’s names and said, “With them we can win.”

The conversation stopped. Apparently I said the wrong thing. One of the grandmothers grinned, looked down at the ground and stirred the dirt with her toe.

I knew she had an opinion, so I said to her, “You have an opinion. Don’t we want to win?”

She bowed out of the conversation gracefully.

I should have, but I wanted to know, “Don’t we want to win?”

My grandson came later into the conversation and asked the coach, “Can one person win the game?” He was referring to the extra large young man from Bayfield who monopolized the game last year. It appeared he carried Bayfield through the season.

The coach said “No, it is a team sport. Everyone plays in order that the one player can get through to the goal. That’s how the game is supposed to be played.”

The shrimp was still boiling and the conversation was soon boiling, too.

I realized everyone had an opinion, but there is only one man who has the job. That job is to build a healthy team, teach the boys respect for each other, because football is a team sport.

It all sounds noble, but when I sit in the bleachers, I forget about loving my neighbors, I want to see our team win. Forget about grandsons, family love, feeling warm and fuzzy.

So, am I as sweet as my daughter?

It depends if it is during the game or not.

I must apologize to the coach. I truly want my grandsons to learn how to respect their teammates, be good sports, and be kind and generous. I am thankful the coach is doing that. I can say that now, but when I am in the throws of the game, I am going to be the first one yelling, “Put so and so in. With him we can win the game.”

And, Coach, you’ve got a hard job, and you are not going to make everyone happy. I’ll probably be yelling at you most of the time. But I have a feeling you are up for the task. Grandmothers like me don’t seem to scare you.

Football season has begun. Parents are hauling their boys to practice. The boys run the field, tackle each other, get knocked down, pushed and scraped. They will learn their plays and build a team.

Come Sunday, I will be toting my Bible, talking about loving my neighbors, but come Friday night, I’ll be yelling with the rest of them, “Let’s Win. Kill them!”

Something comes over me; it is the smell of winning.

Let the games begin. There will be more sparks flying than at the shrimp boil. Everyone will yell at the coach, yell at the boys, praise the boys and praise the coach. Then, afterwards, they will go out for pizza and forget their differences until Friday night comes around again.

Final brushstroke: There are two different kinds of win: One is winning the game and the other is winning your neighbor. The wise man knows how to do both.

Artist’s quote

“Maybe you can’t change the whole world, but if you have love in your heart you can make small differences every day, which really does change the world, one life at a time.” — Kristina Konez, customer experience specialist.

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