I was comfortably confident in my fantasy football team’s chances last night. I was behind in my match up, but had a whole bunch of playmakers on the Chicago Bears in the Monday Night game. Sadly, Chicago’s offense stunk up the field. So although I put up my best point total of the season, I lost by a measly 3.5 points.


To my roommate.

Double ouch.

(Editor’s note: this scatterthought is not solely about fantasy football)

I’m what you call “quasi-competitive”. I enjoy competition, but I don’t mind losing. In fact, as a kid I was quite good at losing. I had some friends who were much more competitive than I was, so it was better to let them win than to put up with them being in a bad mood due to losing.

This didn’t apply to team sports, of course, such as baseball, rugby, and soccer. Only those competitions where my loss was my own: board games, cards, computer games, school events, shooting hoops, tennis…whatever. Any case where I could make someone feel more confident about themselves, simply because they felt like they’d bested me.

A friend pointed out recently why she thinks I’m okay with losing, which is that I’m essentially defining my own terms for success. Translation: if I decide to lose and manage to do so, then I’ve succeeded. Seems a little odd, I know, but also seems to accurately describe what I do.

That’s one theory, anyway. Here’s another.

When I was younger, I didn’t really know why I was okay with losing. But I figured it out in my teenage years.

Throughout elementary school and junior high, I was one of the top students in my class without really trying. I never really cared how I did compared to others, since all that mattered was my own performance. And I think it annoyed people that it was so easy for me when they had to work so hard.

In Grade 10, something interesting happened. My performance had started to flag, largely due to a lack of good study habits, and my grades fell a bit. Suddenly, classmates were getting better marks than me. Even though it wasn’t a competition, some people felt quite pleased with themselves…I had become one of their benchmarks. And more than a few decided to rub it in when they ‘beat’ me. And that was okay with me. I liked seeing them feel good about themselves–especially the kids who had to work really hard to get those scores. So I could have pointed out that I did almost as well as them without putting in nearly as much effort, but what would be the point of that? Better to let them have their moments of success.

I suppose this fits with the earlier theory: I defined success as being my performance without putting in much effort, so I was satisfied with my grades (even if my parents weren’t). And more than that, I just liked being able to make people happier and more confident in themselves.

I’m not known for having a stellar memory, but I remember the science class when I figured this out. I believe they call it a defining moment.

This isn’t to say that I was the most well-adjusted kid ever. I’ve just always known that my personal success is entirely relative to my own expectations, and no one else’s. That being said, I have a standing expectation that I will never, ever disappoint someone whom I care about…which is somewhat impossible not to do, when you think about it. We will all be put into situations in life in which we have to make choices, and sometimes those choices will impact negatively on people we love.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? Life wouldn’t be worth living if there were no real challenges. Besides, how could we experience true happiness without knowing what it feels like to overcome great odds?

And when did this scatterthought turn from a rant about fantasy football into a philosophy on life? Let’s end it.

I am who I am for four reasons:

1. I know how it feels to meet the expectations of my loved ones

2. I know how it feels to meet the expectations I have for myself

3. I know how it feels to disappoint my loved ones

4. I know how it feels to disappoint myself.

And that’s all there is to it.