Friday, August 04, 2006

More thoughts from a competitive personality

Jim Parinella seems to think that Idris is slamming me in his blog entry. Maybe he is, who knows. There is probably at least a backhander in there, but I'll get over it. I was going to try and write something that analyzed competitiveness more, and try and fit myself somewhere in it, but it became too hard. So instead I will provide some self-analysis and anecdotes, and leave it to the reader to comment.


* When I play any game, if there are agreed rules, I hate when people don't play by the rules. I'm thinking less of ultimate at this point then when I play parlor or social games, like Taboo, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuits, etc. By the same token, I expect people to hold me to the same restrictions. When I extend this to ultimate, I imagine a lot of people feel that I am a loudmouth that complains a lot. Sideline calls or endzone calls where there is no line, I hate when people just call themselves in and it is very close. I try to get them to identify a foot. If it is close, the only way you can really tell is to get somebody to check between the cones. Fortunately, most fields are lined these days, so that gripe is disappearing. But I can be a stickler, though Jim would probably argue that I am being a stickler when it favors me, and he is probably ultimately right.

* At practices, when we are doing some sort of competition and I'm on the sidelines, whether a scrimmage, 10-pull, whatever, I am almost always competing, helping my team on the field, following the action on the sidelines, talking to help, whether the force, or last back, etc. While some of my teammates (both past and present) will do this well at times, I feel like I almost always am doing it.

* When playing board games with my kids, like Candyland or Sorry, I'm happy for them when they win, but deep down it still rankles me that I lost and I still want to win every game, even though I understand the value of them winning. Fortunately, we aren't to the level yet of playing true strategy games, or something where I can make obvious mistakes to let someone win, because it will be interesting to see how I am with that.

* Reacting to a comment from Idris' blog, I don't think the only way to identify a competitive player is by someone who complains, tweaks, etc. I also think it can be identified by their actions and demeanor. Unfortunately, I have also probably done some of the tweaking stuff, but I bet that if I didn't, people would still identify me as a competitive personality.

Historical stuff

* One event that causes me some chagrin occurred at Tuneup in 2004. We were playing Doublewide in the semis(?). We were on offense and somebody made a bad pass that one of their younger players laid out for and pancaked (and caught). When he got up, the disc was now on the ground. I immediately said turnover, that the player wasn't allowed to not retain possession of the disc, and that the ground had NOT caused the turnover. Suffice to say, I got very heated, thinking that the teams were going to let it go by. Probably the worst I have lost it in a long time. In retrospect (by the end of the game), and even worse now, I realize that it would have been far more effective to try and be reasonable about it. I think the game was reasonably close at the time, I just can't really remember/justify why I lost it that badly. Although, given my comment up top about wanting to play by the rules, I guess I also shouldn't consider saying 'good play you can have the d'. At what point do you enforce the rules. Granted, in a less important game, or one against a lesser opponent where it was a given you were going to win, people will be more magnanimous.

* AMENDED (added after comment #1) historical #1: After reading the first comment, I reread what I wrote for historical #1 and realized that I came off pretty bad. To clarify. After the defensive play occurred I got pretty heated because I wanted to explore exactly what happened AND make sure that we (DoG) didn't just say OK to the defensive play. I was well aware of the rule that the person had to have sustained contact with the disc for it to not be a turnover, especially on a defensive layout (and that the ground can not cause a turnover on a defensive play, unlike an offensive catch for a goal). I spent a lot of time explaining the rule to the rookie, and pushed real hard for him to say whether he had caught the disc and put it down after the layout (which I suspected but wanted to make sure). He eventually agreed that he had caught the disc and consciously left it on the ground. I may very well have browbeaten him into this answer, but I was following the letter of the rules to try and (re)gain an advantage for our team. In retrospect, I feel I could have probably gained the same result while being much calmer, but I really felt that it was one of those razors edge situations where play was just going to continue and it was going to be too difficult to rewind play and perspective to the actual D.

* '97 national semis against Ring of Fire. We went down 10-4 in a game to 17 that we would ultimately win after one of the most exciting comebacks I have ever been involved with. What I remember most about this game, and I know that Jim will verify this, is that when we starting going down early and then big, I got REALLY mad. Mostly because we were playing so poorly. I remember that for the entire rest of the game, I was sporting an incredibly angry face, stalking up and down the sideline, not being negative necessarily, but super intense, super angry. I literally couldn't control it. It was the weirdest thing. Of course we came back to win the game, but even after the game, I was still sporting the angry face in the huddle. I don't know how much of it was because there was no way we should have been losing to that team and of having the streak end that way. I carried the angry face over into the finals, albeit not quite as strongly, and we went up 7-0 and almost 8-0. For that game, it was more of a way of keeping incredible focus, which the entire team had after the wakeup call of the previous day.

* No particular event, but I will admit that when bad plays or results accumulate in a game sometimes, I will eventually let out a scream of frustration. This is almost always a result of poor play, either on the part of the team or myself. If we are playing well and losing, this doesn't occur. I have been told that it is not necessarily productive for the team, and I have tried to avoid doing it these days, but sometimes it is too much of a visceral reaction to stop. But I feel I have gotten much better about this.

* There have been times where I have seen what I feel to be a bad call on the part of my team and I have said nothing about it along the lines of trying to get the teammate to retract his. These are typically foul, strip, calls as opposed to sideline calls, in/out where there is less of a personal interpretation. I am embarrassed to admit that. I have intervened sometimes, but all too frequently I have not said anything (and felt uncomfortable about it). And, yes, this has also been a function of how important/tight the game is. Now that I think a little more about this, I would have to say that I am not unique, because bad calls happen reasonably frequently in ultimate (whether on purpose or not). And I can pretty much guarantee that plenty of other people stay silent when they know better. This does not justify my inaction, but it is worthy of note.

* Win at all costs. Despite some of what I have said above, I don't feel I have that mentality. Interpret as you will.

Flame away.

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