But once in a while I am reminded that I am not exactly the "participation trophies for everyone!" type.
This weekend, like the good social person I'm trying to be this summer, I'm attending a regional LDS single adults conference. The majority of the day today was dedicated to a choice of four activities: rappelling, a tour of the Denver botanical gardens, a hike around Red Rocks, or "The Amazing Race: Denver".
I chose the Amazing Race, along with about 20 other people, and found myself on a team with two other women, one about my age and one a little bit older. I could sense a kindred spirit in Kristen, the one my age, and as they explained the overview of the game and handed out the first envelopes, her cheery eagerness for the game quickly changed my thinking from "Yeah, this will be fun," to "We're going to crush you all!" I had someone else competitive on my team, therefore I wanted to win.
The starting signal was given, and we were off! I ripped open the envelope as we dashed to the parking lot and, thanks to Kristen's knowledge of this suburban area, we were the first to the light rail station and the first to catch the train north.
The game consisted of fifteen clues/tasks spread over four rounds that took us up and down the Lodo, 16th Street Mall, and Civic Center area of downtown Denver. Neither of the other two have spent much time downtown, and I was surprised to discover how well I've gotten to know the area through field trips. Find the "Soundwalk" art installation? That's those grates in the sidewalk that sound like lions and trains on Curtis Street between 15th and 16th. What animal is on top of the exaggerated piece of furniture near the art museum? A small pinto horse, of course! What hotel as hosted every president since 1905 except Calvin Coolidge? Gotta be the Brown Palace! We designed our own money at the Money Museum, took a picture next to the Big Blue Bear, and figured out the four ingredients in a Denver omelet, all in excellent time.
However. It turned out that the third member in our group has some health issues. She walked a lot (a LOT) slower than Kristen and I, and even though we were trying hold ourselves in check, we frequently had to stop and wait for her to catch up. Then she needed to stop to eat lunch because her blood pressure was... doing something. I didn't really catch what it was doing because I was trying very hard to not be a horrible person and that inner argument was taking all of my attention.
Here's a bit of how it went:
Me: She needs to eat! Have compassion.
Also Me: But the next destination is right there! Two blocks away! She could take a break when we get the next clue!
Me: Just give her a minute.
Also Me: It's a race! A RACE! We're supposed to go fast. That's the whole point.
Me: I thought the point was to meet people and have fun.
Also Me: No. The point is to win.
Me: Show some charity. Jesus would do that. Don't you want to be like Jesus?
Also Me: No. I want to win.
Me: Gives me a look.
Also Me: Shut up.
I wasn't doing a very good job at not being a horrible person. With less than charitable thoughts, I did let her eat and I did walk a lot slower even though I was certain this meant we were going to lose. I tried to console myself - we may be losing the race, but we're wining in overall spirituality. And doesn't that count for something?
It turns out yes, because in a plot twist right out of Especially For Mormons, we actually won the race!
And so we returned to the Stake Center as champions. I figured I had learned an important lesson about charity and humility and stuff, right up until the post-activity "mingle" turned out to be a trivia contest. Trivia? Man, I got this!
And bam! I was back in competitive high gear while the rest of my new group (who ranged in age from mid-forties to early seventies) were strangely blasé about the whole thing. Granted, with questions like"Name the 9 members of the Weasley family" or "Name the 7 Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music", they didn't have a lot to contribute. But still, didn't they want to win?
They helped when they could, and we were actually doing pretty well. Excited to win another competition, I was adding up our points after the last question when the host announced, "Everybody take a look at your score cards and you'll see that your group was assigned a name." I looked. We apparently were the "Trivia Titans."
"Well," the announcer continued, "we are going to determine the winners of the trivia contest by drawing a name out of a hat! Each team bring up the card with your team's name on it and add it to the bowl!"
What the what. That's not how this works! My team was clearly winning. We were the ones who named 6 of the 13 dwarves from The Hobbit! And now you're telling me that all of
"And the winner is..." she pulled out a card while I was still mid-mental rant about them promising us a contest and then picking a "winner"at random, "The Trivia Titans!"
"Whoo!" I yelled, along with the rest of my teammates. We won! Take THAT team-behind-us-who-tried-to-use-a-smartphone-to-look-up-the-eight-islands-of-Hawaii. Ha, ha, ha, suck it!
Yeah. I might be a little competitive.