I Could Have Been a Competitor

I love games, but I’ve never been a competitor; I’m more of a choke artist, but it doesn’t keep me from dreaming. My impersonation of anything athletic looks like something straight out of one of those “America’s Most Embarrassing…” or “America’s Klutziest…” as I lose my balance, watch softballs, volleyballs, kickballs land at my feet or have to be grabbed by the ankles and suspended upside down to do that perfect handstand. (Well, back in the day. You’re not going to catch me chasing balls these days as I refuse to be blindsided by another volleyball upside the head, lie immobile on the ground in an attempt to do a backbend or be yanked upside down by the ankles (God help the strongman who tried)).

Back in the day, I was a bit delusional and felt I was a great armchair Jeopardy champion. I’d hurl out my questions faster than the contestants, “What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, Alex?” and I imagined him saying, “that is correct, Beth! Choose your next category.” “I’ll take Corny Monty Python Quotes for $800” and of course it would be the video daily double. I’d blush, bet it all and then double my winnings because that’s how those situations play out in my crazy little mind.

Armed with my untapped talent, I managed to talk three of my most gullible friends at my university into participating in College Bowl. We prepared by watching more Jeopardy and playing the Jeopardy board game. What else could you possibly need to know? I was the captain and my team was ready to rock through to the state finals… in my mind. I remember that day, sitting at a little table, buzzer in hand and staring down the graduate students… our competitors. Let’s just say on that day, I never hit the buzzer. Instead, I chose to drool, look glassy eyed as each question came out of the moderator’s mouth and feel the steady drain of my cockiness ebb away. On that day, the opposing team ended up with over 100 points while we managed a whopping 10. I don’t even remember the one question, but the answer was Pepsi. Tails between our legs, we slunk out of the room secretly hoping we’d never run into the opposing team again – maybe they wouldn’t recognize us, maybe it was time for that hair dye, how much could plastic surgery really cost and could we convince our parents of the medical necessity? “But MMOOOMMMM, they’ll mock us if they see our REAL faces?”

Now that I’m older and for arguments sake, let’s say “wiser”, I tend to not allow myself the luxury of thinking I’d be a great anything contestant on any show. Well, up until recently where I’ve found another cohort at work who has started fanning those competitive flames. The difference this time is we’re making a more realistic list – a list of contests that don’t rely on obscure trivial information or require us to sing or dance – a list that speaks to the common man.

Our list so far (and I’m really surprised some of these are real contests, but hey choke artists can’t be choosers):

Food eating – now this relies a lot on stamina and of course, it’s going to be hard to unseat the great Kobayashi (although recently his record on hamburgers was beaten). Still, I’m not a power eater.

Air guitar – now we’re talking, although I’d personally need private air guitar instructions having never held a real air guitar before – I mean, do I wear the air straps low? is this a bass air guitar? What if I’m better on rhythm air guitar? Do I need a pick? Is air banjo an option?

Rock, Paper, Scissors – I’m not kidding, this is a real competition and who hasn’t played this while waiting for the school bus? I think this may be the winner for me. I’ll study my opponent carefully. Does he always throw scissors? Is he more a paper guy trying to anticipate my rock? (All interested parties, please contact me for my local Rock, Paper, Scissors team.)

Pillow Fighting – now, this is almost up there with mud wrestling in my mind. Yes, I get why people would want to see this, but I can tell you after many a slumber party this quickly goes from girlish squealing and giggle-fits to poly-filled frenzies where you pin your opponent down and brain them a few times. You can really nail someone with a pillow if you’re short on sleep, your training bra is now frosty in the fridge and some how you now have whipped cream on your nose (never be the first to fall asleep at a slumber party).

With little encouragement, maybe I can redeem myself in one of those competitions. If not, I may be posting “Great tips for the perfect disguise”.

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