"Today my team suffered a staggering loss."

How often that is said, but not true in a physical sense. However, I know my emotional gut that sleeps around my stomach awoke today and stumbled about after my team competing in a video game tournament (specifically Halo 2) lost in a two out of three game match (our record now stands at 2-2).

I started thinking about why competition sometimes leaves this empty, sickening feeling in one's stomach when you've lost. I've lost some competitions of all types by varying margins, close and dead terrible. I've won competitions by such margins as well. What bothered me tonight as we lost the third and pivotal game by one point (a photo finish per se) was the question, "Why do I sometimes feel excited even in loss, and empty even in victory?"

It is said that it isn't whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. What exactly is the how that makes one happy or sad when all is said and done? I might initially think, "If I play really well and shine, I'll feel good." Yet, I can remember times I've been the dominating player and felt irked at my teammates failures, win or lose. A thought could come such as, "If I play for fun, I'll be happy." Yet again, there have been times when we've won spectacularly, and I didn't fell happy at all, and we've lost horribly, and the same applies.

Are we humans, or me in particular, such fickle beings that we can't even consistantly know what satisfies our thirst for competition? I could cite any number of things that happened tonight that might have contributed to my feelings, one teammate doing his own thing instead of helping out, the inability of us to coordinate to achieve a goal, or the loss by one point, but such things have happened before and I've not felt this way at the end of the day.

It's a feeling that passes the same way a lingering sourness in the mouth does. It sticks around if not tended to, but doesn't go away if you try to wash it down with anything.

I think perhaps in the case of video games in particular, the problem may lie with detachment. In my case, I have a tendency to zone out as a play. Both in the sense of losing sense of everything and ending up walking against a wall (typically when I'm tired) but especially in the sense of losing attachment to what is going on. I no longer feel what is happening, it just is.

I wonder perhaps if this is what happens to some soldiers on the battlefield, and I do not think it a good thing. Perhaps I'm a romantic concerning some aspects of war, perhaps especially so because of the anime I watch, but I believe that it is emotion as much as cold logic which allows someone to excel, whether in battle or in life. To become detached from something is to lose half of what helps you conquer it.

In sports such as soccer, badmington, ultimate frisbee, raquetball, and others that require physical prowess of various kinds, detachment is not as easy to achieve for me, and perhaps that's why I enjoy a good game of soccer or badmington more often than some competitive games I've played. One's limits are more potently and obviously felt.

I excel at video games by nature, and with certainty I believe that were I to devote myself to any one game in particular my prowess would be sickening skillful. Yet I think I see now why that isn't where God wants me to be. I could certainly do it, but with my detachment I could neve achieve true happiness from it, or true and full skill.

May that I keep stumbling down the path God has shown me. I may not finish this marathon of life and purpose in record time, with panache, gusto and flare, but I will finish it. It may be that my time is a record for suck, but it will be a time.

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