Love to Game, Hate to Lose

Yesterday I played games with friends and made a concerted effort not to be a bad loser.

Since meeting J. Felbs, I’ve come to enjoy gaming as one of my hobbies, and recently that enjoyment has grown quite a bit as I’ve cycled into a pretty heavy “want to game, must game” phase. I’ve talked about gaming in the past on this blog. I like video games, table top RPGs, board games, and recently I’ve started playing a certain trading card game that I’m having a ton of fun with.

But fun comes at a price for me and those around me because I’m a very sore loser.

No one likes to lose, but I think sometimes I take it as a personal affront, as if losing means I’m a stupid person. I tend to forget the way luck works and I lose sight of the fact that everyone is trying to win, not to personally beat me down. It’s really sad when I scream and rage at video games (though after the last scary fit I threw, I’ve learned to just turn the console off if I get frustrated).

When I’m losing or when someone is playing against me for strategy, I trash talk. I play the pouty card. I get exasperated. Sometimes I just quit. And after every game I play in which this happens, I realize how badly I acted and I feel kind of guilty and I promise myself that next time I’ll be better.

During my childhood, I remember family gatherings in which games, mostly card games or board/card hybrids played a huge part in our social interaction. It seemed my family was always playing games. They loved it. But inevitably, there was always a couple bad losers at the table, and as I got older, I remember wondering why they got so mad. It was just a game.

Now, I completely understand it.

Yesterday, during several different games, I did my best not to get mad and not to do any hardcore trash talking. I tried to take a step out of my mind for a little bit and tell myself “Hey, it’s just a game, and they’re playing to win, just like you are.” It kind of worked. I remained calm and only slightly irritated. I didn’t throw my cards or game pieces. I only tried to give J. Felbs half a guilt trip instead of the usual “Why are you so mean to me?” spiel. At one point, I even told him to just go ahead and win and I stayed calm the whole time.

I suppose one of my goals for 2013 should be to try to be a better loser because I really do love gaming and I don’t want to make it a bad experience for me or those who game with me. Plus, it’s hard to game by one’s self if everyone else has told her to go away because of her sore loser tendencies.

I think I’ll try to avoid that.