I come from a family that is NOTHING if not competitive.
Now, I know that you all know people who are overly competitive. They are the people that (to be honest), I tend to avoid whenever possible. I love to play volleyball, especially outdoor volleyball. But, I'm not very good at it, and experience has taught me that before joining just any old pick-up volleyball game, it's generally in my best interest to spend a few minutes observing the game, determining whether it's a "let's have fun" kind of game or "let's do whatever it takes to win" kind of game. I'll join in the former, but (to every one's relief) I avoid the latter like the plague.
But that's not the type of competitive that I'm talking about.
Every summer, at the Corry Reunion, there is a horseshoe tournament. You can read more about this tournament at my cousins' blog here. But, briefly, it's for the men (the women used to have one, but it died due to lack of interest). They are randomly put into partnerships, and they play in a single-elimination tournament over the course of two days. There is trash-talking, and good-natured jeering and teasing, and get this: The winners have their names engraved on a plaque which is kept and displayed at the reunion, year after year after year. It's been going on since the 1970's. Crazy.
But actually, that's not the type of competitive that I'm talking about either. I'm talking about competitions that are a little more random (and silly) in nature. For example:
I remember one Christmas afternoon when we all spent about three hours in my Uncle Steve's basement, watching my father and my other uncles play with a stopwatch. They would hold it, start it, look away, and see how close they could get it to stop on 20 seconds flat without looking. It sounds stupid, doesn't it? It was stupid. But, between the boasting and the bragging and the allegations of cheating and just the shenanigans in general that went on with it all, it was an absolute ball, and (honestly, as sad as this may sound) one of my favorite Christmas memories. (Incidentally, I have no idea what I or anyone else received for Christmas that year. I'm pretty sure the stopwatch was not a Christmas gift.)
I remember one summer afternoon when my parents, my siblings, their spouses, and I all sat in metal folding chairs on the back deck, playing "hackey sack" with a crushed aluminum can. The rules were, you couldn't get up from your chair, but if you could get your chair to move without your feet touching the ground or your derriere leaving the chair, you were all good. If the can touched the ground after you touched it, you were out. Again, stupid game, huh? But man, oh man, did we have a good time.
And that brings me to the latest crazy competition that my family (more specifically my brothers) has (have) come up with.
This post is already too long, and I'm getting tired of writing it (how's that for a cop-out?), but if you want to know details of this particular competition, you can go here. (skip the first 4-5 paragraphs, unless you're interested in the family trip to the sand dunes, or my brothers' imminent move to Indiana.)