Competitiveness and a Lack of Place to Express It

Growing up I never felt bad about the fact that I wasn’t good at traditional sports.

From a young age I was more interested in things that were scientific and things that I could build rather than things like games and sports.

I loved tools, and to this day have an unnatural fascination with cool tools. Items that were designed to solve a problem and did so effectively in the right hands.

All this to say I was a weird kid. A nerd.

I was never into traditional sports such as football and basketball. I played little league as a kid, but I found that I liked the idea of being on a baseball team more than I actually liked playing the game.

There was only one somewhat traditional “sport” I have ever truly had interest in. That is the study of Martial Arts.

I was introduced to Chinese/American karate at a young age, and while at the time I did not possess the patience required to master such a study, the early introduction was a great thing. Overtime as I matured and learned patience, I slowly, picked up practicing this sport, though inconsistently, with the people in my life who also enjoyed it.

Over time, though not well disciplined, I was decent enough to hold my own in sparring matches with those who were more well versed in the study.

It has always stuck with me, and through my years of dabbling, I have made an interesting yet somewhat unrelated discovery.

When I think back to the school yard in elementary school I can remember countless games of football taking place out on the field. I remember that I would always get upset when my friends decided to play these games because honestly I found them pointless. I was never any “good” at them. Later on I found out this had more to do with me not trying because I didn’t care, than my actual hand eye coordination.

None the less the games were played, and I can remember multiple occasions when I would miss a pass or something. As I recollect on these occasions I often find myself wondering why I missed those passes. Why didn’t I try harder? I am not a bad athlete believe it or not.

Every time I ask myself these things I remember far too quickly the answer: I didn’t care. The game meant nothing to me. I didn’t appreciate the skill and practice required to execute game play actions effectively.

So that answers that question. But then another question arises…

I can recall the silly, boyish school yard insults being tossed my way whenever I pathetically cost the team a point. That obviously didn’t bug me much. Boys are that way, and these were my best friends. If anybody was ever going to call me a loser or tell me I suck genitals it was going to be one of my friends. It’s a bonding thing.

However, as we grew older and the games got more and more intense, my friends became more and more competitive. It was a constant battle for the alpha male role of the group out there on the field. Which made any loss caused by my disinterest in the game all the more painful for my team mates.

In turn, insults grew darker and more mean spirited. As the words said aloud meant more to the speaker in these competitive years. They meant everything they said.

This still did not bother me though. And why was this you ask?

One word: Combat.

As we grew older and more competitive, the interest in football and kickball heightened amongst my friends. While my interest in martial arts increased. Still none of us were competing at any of these endeavors on any serious level, but our hearts were more into them.

So as my friends called me names and fought about who was really the best player I was unaffected. Because in my mind I knew that even with the small amount time I had put into martial arts, I was superior in that field.

I vaguely remember telling my father at this age that even though other boys may have been better at sports, it’s just a pointless skill. All disagreements at the root, stem from and will end in combat.

Now the background info on my interest into martial arts might make the point I am about to make a bit confusing, but stick with me. I am going to do my best to explain.

Because I interests were elsewhere, I had no skill in any of the sports that were played in the schoolyard during those years. My motive for ignoring sports is irrelevant. Because I did not have a competitive medium for expressing my masculinity like my friends did, my immediate response to any masculinity insult relative to the game was always a dark one. I took it to warfare every time.

These last 830 words may have a constructed a parallel far to confusing to follow. So let me break it down.

At the most basic level, the natural medium for expressing dominance or masculinity is warfare. We see it in the animal kingdom all the time. Males fight for the role of alpha male.

This is because most other animals are simple. Though we are animals, we are obviously distinguishable from the others, and so it makes sense that we are more complex.

We have a multitude of arenas in which we can express dominance or our competitive nature over another. (Such as sports)

But at the root of our being that natural, animalistic instinct to fight for alpha positions is still there.

I contend that when we have no medium to express the competitive urge…

No outlet to channel our savagery…

We revert to it. Just as I always did in the school yard.

I came to this realization today while reviewing a twitter debate (more of a discussion) with some hooligans from Orange County.

What was debated is irrelevant to my point. What is relevant is how vile, vicious and nasty these folks became when they could not defend their side.

One of them even went so far as to try and frame me for saying something racist while tagging Al Sharpton in the tweet.

The Sharpton Frame

These people did not possess the skill set required in order to have a civil, intelligent, logical debate with someone who disagrees with them. And at the first sign of opposition they attack.

My guess is that at least one of the people that I conversed with during this twitter fiasco was someone of at the very least moderate intelligence. However, because she did not posses the skills required in order to fully understand the holes in her retorts, she was literally stymied out by me for acting inappropriately which in fact, somewhat discredits her entire commentary.

It occurred to me that is not entirely their fault that they do not possess the knowledge required in order to debate like adults. They have never been taught. And most of those in the position to teach them, don’t possess the knowledge either.

Past generations have done a great disservice to America’s youth through public education and a lack of parenting. It has resulted in a generation of literal incompetency.

Schools and other supposed institutions of knowledge have not provided these kids with the skills set to compete intellectually with one another.

And as I stated above, it seems that when we humans do not have a platform to express and burn off our biological competitiveness we revert to the most natural, organic, animalistic thing we know.

Savagery and violence.

Get ready America, we are headed for a dark place.


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