It might come as no surprise that I've been playing increasingly more Catan games as I linger in maternity leave. What does surprise me is the huge number of people who are big, fat whiney babies. Today, I decided to play 2 games really quickly after my workout, just to unwind.
We did a team workout at Crossfit, and I was already feeling badly that my team couldn't possibly win, since I wasn't able to run or really do many of the exercises. I was like the anchor dragging behind the ship! So I wanted to play Catan, where I could perhaps win. Because I love winning! I love to win at the dentist, I love to finish first at folding the laundry, I like to savor my ice cream cone longer than my companions...no matter what it is, I'm competing. To win. But not everyone wins the same way I do, and this baffles me.
In my first game of Catan, for instance, there was this one girl who was kind of a douche, but at least she was cut throat and wanted to win. It was all over in under 10 minutes. Bam! Victory. No cheating, no whining, no prisoners. I took note of her strategy and saved the knowledge for next time.
In my second game, there were two whiney babies. First, this one baby refused to trade with anyone. So I moved the robber, stole from him, and built a city. This is part of the game. How one wins. He got all pissed and left the game, never to return. Luckily, someone else jumped in so we didn't have to abandon our online geekfest. This girl was a baby, too! As soon as it became obvious I was going to win (which happened surprisingly quickly, I was proud to say), she put forth a motion to abort the game. As in, she would rather get rid of it and strike it from the record than have someone else (me!) win. Why even play?
Can you imagine? Why don't all people think like I do, that everything is a competition to win and that losing is like a (sometimes annoying) lesson for how to be better next time? I mean, what if each time I lost at something I just huffed off or tried to strike it from existence? What if every time Corey beat me at the toothpaste game (we have two tubes going at once right now. It's intense) I just went out and bought more toothpaste? Or what if I just quit Crossfit because the other pregnant girl beat me at Fight Gone Bad? Or what if I let my back yard return to wilderness because my cucumber wouldn't germinate?
Where would I find joy in my life??? What would be the point? I try to have empathy for a lot of things. Not jerk-faces who sit in the special needs seats on the bus, but most spheres of life. Only I can't understand the motives of cheaters and whiners, so I find myself unable to appreciate them as valid human beings. I mean, what if one day they actually win at something. Does it feel like a fulfilling and satisfying achievement, since they whine and cheat and moan the rest of the time? How can it!
When I win at something, I like to know I earned it, really and truly took ownership of that victory. Like next week, when Corey sighs loudly and recycles the toothpaste tube and I hear the little rustle of cardboard carton as he gets out a new one, I will feel deeply satisfied in my cunning rationing of toothpaste. Had I been a whiney baby or a cheater and just squeezed the toothpaste down the drain in order to win, it would entirely defeat the purpose.