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Slowbird's Folly (Being Overly Competitive Sucks)

I knew something was wrong at the start.

The launch was all wrong, and I struggled to get going as other cars swarmed past me. I thought I had flubbed the start, and scrambled to try and catch up. But the car handled funny, and I couldn't get to grips with the cognitive dissonance I was feeling at first. Then, it hit me.

I picked the wrong car.

I should go back a bit. This is Forza Motorsport 4, and I'm racing with other Giant Bombers. We do this thing called the Super Series, a team-based championship full of strange cars and interesting rules. Last season, we raced vans against Smart cars. It's supposed to be fun.

This season has not gone well for me. I failed to win the first two races, so I was really focused on tuning my car for the third race. I spent lots of time working on it, and got it handling pretty well. I thought I had the fastest car of anyone. Then I looked at the leaderboards and saw someone else smash my best lap by a tenth of a second. Okay, no big deal, I can run fast laps consistently, so maybe I can still win. That’s what I thought, until the race started and I realized that I never switched from the randomly-selected default car to my highly-tuned racing machine.

I tried to keep racing for a few laps, but it just wasn’t happening. I kept bouncing off the walls and sliding all over the place. I parked in the grass. I complained about my bad luck. I said the race should be restarted. I whined and pouted about it. I gave up.

There goes the championship.

I didn’t have any fun in that race. After that, we went about our normal routine of doing random races and events. I started off mad at myself, but after a couple of events I started to cheer up a bit. I put the earlier disappointment aside for a while. I tried not to be so serious about things. It was fun.

I’m still upset with myself – for making a mistake, for ruining my race, for reacting so poorly – but I can’t do anything about it now. I prepared so much, only to mess it up. I just wanted to run well and compete for the win. I know it’s supposed to be about fun, but I can't have fun in that situation. I derive fun from competition, and I don’t think I can separate the two. I know that will always prevent me from having as much fun as I could have, and that is something I have to live with.