30 Days of Thanks, day 13- Friendly Competition
During the month of November I am writing about the first thing that I am consciously thankful for each day as a way to intentionally be more grateful. Check out the first one for more information on why I am doing this.
The New York Giants (6-2), San Francisco 49ers (7-1), and Green Bay Packers (8-0) are all having good years. That may not mean a lot to you, but in my family it means war. I have been a fan of the G-men since I could spell “hike” and my brother has been a forty-whiners fan just as long, even though he may be their only fan who can spell that particular four-letter word. My mom has been a Packers fan since the beginning of the Favre era…so pretty much right after Bart Starr retired.
There have been very few times that these family rivalries have even mattered because it is very rare for two of those three teams to have genuine Super Bowl hopes. In 1991, the Giants beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game that proved to be the last relevant game Joe Montana would play for the San Fransissy team. In 2008, the Giants beat the Packers in the NFC Championship game in overtime at Lambeau Field. I watched that game at my parent’s house with my mom, but knew better than to talk to her at the end of the game. I just grabbed my coat and left. I’m sure that New York has been beaten by their teams in big games, I just can’t recall any at the moment.
Today, the combined 3 losses of our teams will go up by at least one because the New York football Giants will be going to San Francisco this afternoon. My brother and I have been talking it up all week acting like we are overstating our intense desire for our respective teams to win. But here’s the secret–this game really means a lot to both of us. Sure, the winner will feign humility and act like we wish the losing team the best of luck in the future, but somewhere just beneath the surface is a gloating 10 year old happy that Joe Montana broke his pinky. And I’m not sure I would like sports if that type of rivalry didn’t exist.
My mom, brother, and I enjoy the competition of our NFL football teams. For me and my kids right now it’s Go Fish. Sammie and Jack have become quite competitive, but despite their potential, I am the reigning champion. By playing with them, I hope to teach them to be good sports, to win and lose the right way, that it’s not nice to yell “In your face!” when you take their twos. Actually, Janet taught me that last one. Apparently taunting a second grader is not considered good parenting. Who knew?
I think competitiveness is healthy. I think that learning to handle victory and loss the correct way is an important part of growing up. Competition with those you love is a great way to learn those lessons and, even though the rivalries get a little too intense at times…
Today, November 13, I am thankful for friendly competition and for the connections with friends and family that stem from it.