I was snapping photos and shooting video during the first event with nary a care in the world. Then they announced the winners and Pipsqueak got second place. I was surprised and proud. I even got a little misty eyed. Suddenly, I became a different person. I felt something that I'm not sure I've ever felt before... competitive.
During the second event, I still snapped and shot, but I was also sizing up the competition. How was their posting? Posture? Did Pipsqueak have a chance at first place?
I've never been a competitive person. I played some sports in elementary and middle school (basketball, soccer, softball), but I was never particularly good (too klutzy), and I never felt the burning desire to crush the opponents. Mostly, I played because I enjoyed the social aspect of it... spending time with friends.
In high school, I was involved in drama and band. Trying out for plays wasn't too bad since I didn't have to actually see my competitors. I showed up at my appointed time, read and left. Later, I checked the list to see if I got a part. If I didn't, I'd work in production. Band was another thing entirely. We had to play each year for levels and seats. If you thought you were better than the person above you, you could challenge them at any time during the year. I played first clarinet all four years, and gradually worked my way up to second seat. I never challenged anyone, and I felt fortunate that no one ever challenged me since there was some challenging in the clarinet section. The flautists were cut-throat; there were challenges over there all the time. When someone was challenged, I felt the nerves and sweatiness for them.
As an adult, I've never felt like I was competing, not for jobs, salaries, anything. I always felt that I just had to be the best I could be, not necessarily better than anyone else in particular. Little did I know there was a competitive monster within me waiting for the next generation to go forth and win.
I am will not to be one of those parents that coach and criticize from the sidelines. I prefer instead to be a cheerleader. Maybe... hopefully, I'm no different than any other parent that wants the best for their child... for them to succeed and be happy.
I asked Pipsqueak how she felt in the ring. Did she feel nervous or like she had to win? "No, I was just happy to be riding a pony." She's a chip off the ol' block.