Sunday, November 3, 2013

Competitive Balance

“Happy Anniversary! I hope you lose.”

It would not have surprised me if that is how I was greeted this morning by my lovely wife of 23 years.  After all it is probably fitting that we would spend our anniversary playing each other in fantasy football since competition has been both a key ingredient and bitter salt of our marriage.

It should have been obvious when back in college, she turned me down for a date to attend the UCLA-USC football rivalry game instead that our relationship might be a little bit different.  This rejection only made me immediately smitten.

To say the two of us are not driven or competitive would be a key giveaway that you don’t really know either one of us.  Sure we at times try to cover it up, but our true colors eventually emerge from our pores.  It also can be tough being married to someone who does not want to lose when you can’t stand losing yourself.

That has been our challenge, finding that we can both win and learning to celebrate the victories of the other while not rubbing in the losses has been our single greatest marriage challenge.  Just as I have learned that my wife is regularly going to beat me running a 5K, finding a way to accept that humbling defeat while celebrating her faster time has taught me much about what it takes to be a partner and a spouse.  I have learned that by learning to be a good loser, I am actually a better person.

But that does not mean the competitive fire still does not burn.  Because just as that initial rejection convinced me I only needed to continue to give chase, this passion has been a difference in helping me through some of the most difficult personal and professional times I have experienced.

I will report later how the fantasy football match-up works out.  After all I could end up on the losing end since I named my team “My Wife Beats Me” to symbolize that she went all the way to the fantasy football Super Bowl last year while my team did not.  But the competitive fire hopes I can end my anniversary by saying, “Happy Anniversary, you lost”, but I will be just as happy if instead my wife tells me “Happy Anniversary Loser.”
My wife and I after I "lost" to her in the 2011 Space Coast Half Marathon

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