Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The joy of tearing a man's pride to pieces

One of the best blog entries of the summer was by SLAM's Sam Rubenstein a month or so ago. Good because it was funny, and good because it nailed an often ignored part of competition on the head. The mean part. Some people always have it, others never do. I personally only get pushed to that place. Like when a guy in a pickup game goes a little too far with the trash talking or when somebody gets annoyingly rough.

But anyways, here's a good excerpt (the bold is my doing):

"These NBA talking heads like Tim Legler who babble on about how “Kevin Durant is a competitor who will compete for 48 minutes because he loves to compete and be competitive when he competes and he hates to lose” do not get it. Competition is crushing your enemies skulls underneath your blood stained boots."

My mind went back to this blog post because I realized there is another common situation that pushes me (and many others) into this diabolical place, video games. More specifically, playing them against friends. Even more specifically, the friends who talk a lot of shit (which is most of them, assholes).

The particular game doesn't matter. I spent Saturday playing Mario Strikers with this punk I've known since the 3rd grade. The hype had been steadily building all week, culminating in a high frequency of text messages insultating each others race and manhood. It was on.

I came out of the gates winning almost every time. I'd like to say I started feeling bad, but I didn't. The silence coming from him was beautiful. The drooped shoulders, the tense face, it was marvelous. I was weaving a tapestry of trash talking that could not be stopped. Thats right, feel this pain.

After a while, the aforementioned punk made some adjustments and went on a win streak of his own. I know I'm a grown man, and that this is a video game, a kiddie game at that. But during his run, I was seriously contemplating choking him out with the cord of my controller. Next time, maybe I'll wear one of those blood pressure readers to try and quantify the rage building inside me. Either he had to die or I was going to explode.

Both having been on our runs, we decided to cap the night with a winner take all 9 match series. I won 5-3. I drove home on a high that can't be explained, a peak only tempered by my stomach protesting the bag of Doritos and high quantity of pop that propelled me to victory that night. The text messages demanding a rematch have gone unanswered. I will put my title on the line only in the right conditions. Destroying a rival is too satisfying, something that must be fully appreciated and enjoyed before simply running it back. Its time we all acknowledge this nasty satisfaction, and give it the credit it deserves.

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