I am playing in an Ultimate league. We are known as team Säcré Blüë. We are 0 - 3. We got routed tonight. 5 of our teammates didn't show up. But I tried to keep my head up. I don't like to let losing get me down. I am sensitive to others' emotions, and when people get down, it affects me. I worry that I am letting down the team. Which makes me feel sad and insecure. But I am a big boy, and to be honest, I really like the people on my team and I can say that the criticism that I have received has been constructive. I don't know if I have received enough though. Part of it is that I am not in top-notch shape for playing Ultimate. I haven't been jogging as much recently. I went for a run on Sunday, the first real run I took in about a month, and I am still sore today.
So. Here we are. I was hesitant about signing up for the league because it was marketed as a "competitive" league for "moderate" to "advanced" players. I am definitely not an advanced player - and I probably won't ever be. I might be a moderate player, if I was playing in a novice league. But I was encouraged to sign up for the league anyway, partly I think because of concerns that there would not be enough people to field 4 teams. Which is not to say that I wasn't encouraged for my positive attitude or my sense of humor, for example, among the long list of my good qualities that there are to choose from.
But I was uncomfortable about the competitiveness even before league started. I am a person who does not like domination. For one, I don't like to feel like I am being dominated. I play Ultimate because it's fun and it's a good work out, and I enjoy some of the social aspects. I don't like to be dominated and I don't like to dominate. I don't have a win at all costs attitude, and I tend to be conservative in terms of my physical investment. Pulled and strained muscles have taught me that it's not always worth going all out. And I have a somewhat sensitive muscular-skeletal composition.
Anyway, I have been grappling with a personal question recently, about Ultimate and about life. Is it possible to compete without dominating? My mom is sort of a sports/life philosopher from her days on the tennis courts, maybe she has a point of view. But I talked with a few of my fellow teammates and my fellow opponents as well, Ultimateers all of us. The preliminary conclusion that was somewhat mutually arrived at was that it is possible to compete without having a domineering attitude or exhibiting the behaviors associated with domination. It is possible to compete and to have fun - and to win - without a "win at all costs" attitude.
Speaking personally, domination takes the fun out of it for me. I would prefer to have fun even if (and when) losing. I don't think that makes me a loser. If anything this is one of my more realistic, pragmatic views. I'm going to be 30 next year. Maybe I am becoming more conservative! hahaha! I think finding workable alternatives to dominating behaviors is an important part of making the transition to a "life serving society." It can happen. I just know it.
Maybe this inner conflict is related to my belief that the ends do not justify the means...