Sunday, 13 July 2014

It's Just a Game - or is it?

Despite Bafana Bafana not qualifying for this year's Soccer World Cup, South Africa has still enjoyed a good dose of World Cup Fever. In fact, most individuals I know are in some type of World Cup competition hosted by their work places and/or set up online.

In my immediate circle we have two scenarios: Competition A is an 'adopt-a-nation' approach where at the start of the competition people randomly draw one of the 32 participating countries, and pray they stay in the competition long enough to earn one of the top three prizes. In competition B everyone's neutral, but each match has to be predicted with points awarded for the correct winner, correct points margin, and correct score, and at the end of the competition, the person on the top of the leader board wins the pot.

Competition A has been going well, without major input - I mean, your team either wins or they don't, you don't really have anything to do with it, you know. Competition B is something altogether different though, and lately, our entire family has got in on competition B, and boy has it brought a few things to light. For instance: democracy is not necessarily the most scientific way to decide a prediction; sometimes the least likely score is the right one; and, even the least ardent soccer fan can throw a hell of a tantrum when their team loses (or worse - you used the wrong prediction, thanks to that democracy rule).

However the most horrific is my latest self discovery: It appears I am seriously competitive. I mean over the top competitive, in the worst way - the silent, plotting, statistical way. And if this weren't a bad enough conclusion, I also have some very big control and people pleasing issues. For real!

I can understand how people get addicted to this: fuelling man's inexplicable to need to be in control, to determine his own destiny, and feel like he's made it. I have found myself mulling over soccer statistics and checking out betting sites, all in an attempt to outwit the other players in the pool to get 'us' to the top of the leader board. And when it hasn't gone right (like forgetting three fixtures along the way, making a miscalculation in the points, or allowing empathy or democracy to determine a prediction), I've taken it like a personal train smash! I can genuinely recognise some disappointment (in myself, and on the behalf of others), frustration, anxiety and perfectionism. And all for a game?!

Fortunately, when the final whistle blows tonight, it will all be over, and no one (in my circle) would have won or lost anything significant. I bet by next month no one will even remember all this. But as this can be a parallel to life, let's just say I'm happy to have seen these 'character warnings' in this fantasy setting - I have a few years to iron them out before the next one *wink wink*!

For the record: my money's on Germany tonight!

1 comment:

  1. Got my class reading - books and tables - so it was good!