“When Z-man played football, I wouldn’t sit by her. She was horrible,” my sweet Bob blabbed to the four friends seated at our table playing Hand and Foot. “She became someone I didn’t know, the way she yelled at Z-Man, ‘Take his head off son and spit down his shoulders.’ I’m telling you, she was embarrassing.”
Thanks Bob for exposing my dirty little secret to our two new buddies and the other pair; our compadres of over 20 years. Good grief, let it go. I’m not the same person I was in my late 30s and 40s, I’ve matured since then.
The Methodist Attorney’s (one of my two partners) head popped up and she looked at me through a set of sad eyes. “I hope you didn’t yell at the other children playing ball,” she questioned with a slight smile, displaying a cute set of dimples, so why did I feel as if I were on the witness stand. “I’m sure you didn’t want them to hear you.”
“Oh yeah,” Bob went in for the kill. “She wanted them to hear. Suzanne knew exactly what she was saying and to whom her comments were directed. I’m telling you, she’s terrible.”
“Listen,” I make a feeble attempt to justify my questionable cheerleading. “I never yelled derogatory remarks to our players. I’ve always believed children should be taught to play a game properly and by the rules. Coaches and parents ought to teach them to be gracious winners and losers. Sports and other activities teach them to work as a team.”
Miss Heart, my other female partner and longtime friend, chimes in with her opinion.
“Why Suzanne,” in a voice only a woman who’s raised children and nurtured a troop of grands knows how to use, “I would never expect those type of comments from you.”
I’ve been zinged.
All right, all right, all right, I confess. I’m ugly competitive. I enjoy winning, I want to win, I need to win. I’m not going to throw you down, push past you and cheat. Nope, I want to obliterate my opponent mano a mano, trash them because I’m so good.
Yogi Berra or maybe it was Vince Lombardi who once said, “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, why keep score?”
Winning feels much better when skills are honed to the point of perfection. I defer to other motivational quotes; “Beating someone at their own game,” “May the best man win,“ “Taking it to the limit,” “Giving it all you’ve got,” and “Winning one for the Gipper.”
Years ago, Coach Houston Nutt gave a great pep talk to his first Arkansas Razorback football team. The backdrop featured a crowd of thousands calling the Hogs at the top of their rabid lungs and his young team down on one knee, helmets in hand encircling him. Nutt raises an arm and points to the tunnel before them. “You hear that,” he yelled over the din. “That’s for you.”
Nutt paused, sounding like Elmer Gantry speaking from the pulpit, “In football there are tigers, lions, and bears but there’s only one Razorback. Only one you. All those people are here for you.”
Nutt’s plea grew more passionate and I listened. Exhaling and with exaltation I glance toward Bob sitting beside me in his stance (easy chair) and utter these words,” I’ve never played a game of football but man, he makes me want to slap on some pads and go knock heads.”
Conceivably, people may view my aggressive form of competitiveness a shade disturbing. Possibly, I’ve crossed the line between being a lady one moment and the reincarnation of Lyle Alzado the next.
It’s just a fact the Methodist Attorney and Miss Heart need to accept if we’re to continue to play cards late into the evening of The Sweet Life.