MY brother’s posting of a picture of an empty main road alongside the question “Anyone fancy a game of kerby?” made me realise just how competitive I am.
I replied that I remembered winning the Crosshills Kerby (points scored by throwing a ball across a road and bouncing it off the edge of the kerb) FA Cup and he said I didn’t and any game from which I did emerge victorious was due to my continuous use of a foul throw. Utter bollocks. I won that trophy (there wasn’t an actual prize) fair and square and wouldn’t have played again if I had lost.
I’ve generally kept the competitive facet of my personality quite well hidden, but David’s Facebook picture prompted great memories of success and heart-rending recollections of failure.
I remembered triumphantly representing Scotland in a game of Subbuteo against my brother (England) and also supplying commentary for a cassette recording of the action, in which I opened the scoring after just eight seconds, going on to win 3-1.
I recalled that I have never been beaten at Connect 4, but one Christmas Day went two down in a best of five against him — the consumption of a fair amount of whisky being a contributing factor — only to show nerves of steel and tremendous spirit to pull it back to win 3-2.
I won a drinking game in Hastings by sinking a pint in four seconds and once came joint first in a shots drinking contest (the other ‘winner’ ended up in hospital).
That’s where the successes end though and I have come to realise that the defeats run far deeper within me.
A couple of years ago I was cheated out of a Christmas Day quiz win by my brother being supplied with answers by a third party and at primary school we had an Australian teacher who introduced a Maths FA Cup — opponents drawn out of a bag and the lot. There were only four of us who were any good, but at nine-all in the final — a pack of mini Mars Bars up for grabs — I clearly answered 13x13 (169) a good half-second before lanky cello-playing cheating opponent Rachel Moore, but it was deemed a draw and I was robbed in the tie-break by failing to anticipate an easy 9x9. People in the village still recall the injustice. Well, they do when I constantly remind them of it by shouting over to the other side of the road which they always seem to have just crossed.
I am not good at defeat, and recently deliberately losing count in a weekly Mastermind competition due to falling too far behind in the series confirmed this, the general knowledge questions being weighted in favour of science, rather than, say, serious subjects such as the history of Leeds United or Plymouth Argyle, Grange Hill or Roy of the Rovers of the 1980s.
I am still undefeated in my speed walk to work though, the other pedestrians blissfully and strangely unaware they are in any form of race as I crack on past them.
What’s wrong with people?