Sure, she looks cute and innocent, but when it comes to competition, she’s cold-blooded.
It all started innocently enough. It was a beautiful January day in central Florida resplendent with bright sun and cool air that was the perfect temperature for racing. There was no need for a snow shovel or heavy coat, all we needed were a couple scooters to have some fun. My two-year-old grabbed her red Radio Flyer scooter and at her request I grabbed her older brother’s green Ninja Turtle scooter.
She instructed me where to line up—at the threshold of the garage, but just a couple inches over it…no, not there…there! Once we were situated, I was ready to have a nice leisurely ride, but my adversary had other ideas.
“Go!” she shouted and raced ahead, down the driveway, taking the gentle curve expertly. Her hair bounced on her shoulders as she looked back to track my position. A bit startled, I scrambled to catch up, but it was too late.
The race was over, and I had barely cleared the garage. My first mistake was I didn’t insist that we set the ground rules before we started. For example, I had no idea where the finish line was. Or that we were racing. Or that she was the official starter and a participant, which you have to admit, seems more than a little unfair.
One thing I certainly wasn’t unclear on was that the race was over, and I had lost. How did I know?
“I win!” she shouted three seconds after she had yelled “Go!” She punctuated her victory proclamation with a lilting “ha ha, ha-ha, ha!” I heard that mocking laugh several more times over the next fifteen minutes or so and it is now burned into my brain. My daughter is the Joel Embiid of scooter racing. Not only does she dominate, she’s not afraid to let you know about it.
I was hopeful that she would leave the taunting to the cracked concrete of our driveway/scooter race track, but no such luck. She challenged me to a game of chess later and I was similarly defeated and then humiliated.
The game started out as a chess game typically does, I think. I’m no chess master, but I know enough to get by. I knew that she had set the board up all wrong, but I let it pass. Unfortunately, I wasn’t afforded the same courtesy. My opponent had the nerve to challenge every move I made even though she was the one pretending the bishop was a hat! We took turns moving the pieces around for a few minutes, then she inexplicably started removing her pieces one-by-one from the board and lining them up in front of her on the table.
As it turns out, this is how you win chess. I guess I missed that part of Searching for Bobby Fisher, but I’m always happy to learn new things. Unfortunately, much like with the scooter racing, I learned too late. I started removing my pieces and lining them up in front of me in a nice neat row, but my fate was already sealed. My opponent had a head start of several turns. When she removed her last piece, all that was left was for me to concede graciously and…
“Ha ha, ha-ha, ha! I win!”
Ah, well. You can’t win them all. Well, I guess my two-year-old can. Meanwhile, I can definitely lose them all. But losing with grace and dignity is nothing to be ashamed of. I can be her model of sportsmanship. Based on the way we’re heading so far, she’s definitely going to need one.