A few weeks ago, our Daughter was competing in a year end horse show for a local association. She competed all year long to earn points and this was the final show to determine who would go home with the Division Championship Award for the season. She held the first place position for several months, but two months ago a strong competitor of hers moved up to second place with only 11 points between them. The weeks proceeding the Championship Show were extremely anxious for me.
Our Daughter could lose all of her hard work in a matter of minutes at the final show all based on whether or not the judge liked her style of riding. We were kind of hoping that the other girl just wouldn’t show up. It didn’t matter how everyone else placed that day, our Daughter just needed to beat one person.
I lost sleep and spent much of my time figuring out the numbers in my head. I then began to realize that we had become so consumed with winning that it was stealing our joy from the game. Here I was, doing the math with ribbon numbers like I do with our financial budget.
The pleasure of riding just for the fun of it had turned into fear and anxiety. I was so concerned that her reputation for being one the best riders in the area would be tarnished. I actually thought people would gasp in shock and yet some would revel at the thought that our Daughter came in second place and not first place like she does most of the time. We were simply playing the game to win and not for fun anymore.
Have you ever participated a 40k tournament, and all that you could think about was how many points you would get with each win during the day? When did you stop playing for the fun of hanging out with friends only to play because your reputation of being the best was on the line?
At what point in society did our natural competitiveness drive us to anxiety over how we rank in the line up? Is it even possible to play the game competitively and still keep that feeling of contentment and pleasure?
If you knew that you needed a special piece for your army in order to maximize your effectiveness, yet you really didn’t have the money…would you buy it anyway just to make sure you could stay on top?
I don’t know much about the 40K gaming system, but I do know that in the horse world, the more money you have… the more you can show. This equates to the more points you can earn, thus ultimately winning more titles.
Regardless, in every sport, tabletop or not, there is a point in which all competitors stop playing for fun and start playing to win. I’ve learned that the two are rarely found in the same venue.
If you are wondering…our Daughter did win the Championship Title for her particular Division for the second year in a row. However, when the show was all said and done, there were only 3 points between her and the girl in second place. Talk about a close finish!
They both congratulated each other with smiles and laughter and as I stood back I breathed a sigh of relief, that is until she competes again next week, against the best in the state.
And there you have it guys, from the woman (in my life) in charge. Don't be scared, let her know what you think. - Ron