A Parenting/Life question about letting someone win…BULLSHIT

Mama keeps making dinners, the kids and I keep eating, so I have to get writing. I am a couple posts behind on the scoreboard, so I am going to try to post something every other day or three times a week. Please check back, comment at will and email us any suggested topics. There is a lot of BULLSHIT to write about, whether it’s kid related, parent related, family related, work related or just life related.

Today’s post is about winning. Everybody likes to win, and everybody likes a winner. Nothing earth-shattering about that. I try to win everything that I do, and I always have every day. Nobody likes to lose, and if somebody says they don’t mind losing, I say BULLSHIT. Growing up with two brothers and two sisters, there was a competition every single day for something, and none of us wanted to lose. Whether it was board games (does anybody ACTUALLY play board games anymore), video games, a race up the steps, or who knows what, we were playing to win. And we did WHATEVER it took to get it done.

Lately, it has come up in discussions about “letting the kids win.” You can substitute the kids with the wife/husband, the boss, a friend, whoever. You know the drill. You are playing a game with the kids, do you lose on purpose? You are playing golf with a client, do you miss a putt so they feel better? You are bowling with coworkers, do you miss a spare? You are on a date, do you let your significant other beat you to pump them up?

One thing I know is that nobody ever let me win shit. Nothing. Between siblings, friends, parents, strangers, it didn’t matter. I was in it to win it. The thought never crossed my mind to let somebody win. If they won, fine, they won, but that didn’t mean I liked it. And you can be damn sure that I will try even harder to win the next time. It was a good lesson because it taught me how to lose, and even more importantly, it taught me that I hated losing. That is one of the things I love about the race and sports book business. We measure winners and losers everyday. Winners get paid, losers get nothing, no BULLSHIT.

Recently, the ten year old and the eight year old think they can beat me in a race. They are active, they are getting older, they are athletic, blah, blah, blah. I get it, they are looking to take down their old man. They see a mark in an old, bald, overweight guy who thinks he knows everything and bosses them around every day of their lives. They’ve seen me play hockey, but they have also seen me sleeping on the couch. They’ve seen me bowl, but they have also seen me the morning after a few too many beers at bowling night.

Keep in mind that we just had the baby five weeks ago. Needless to say, I put on few pounds of what I like to call the “sympathy pounds” myself. Metabolism in your early 40s is BULLSHIT, but that is another post for another time. What I am trying to say is that I am not in the best shape of my life right now, and if I race these kids, my immediate goal is not only to win, but not trying to pull a hammy in the process. And there is no letting them win. I mean, what would be the lesson in that?

So, after school the other day, it starts. The homework is done, the after school snacks are eaten, the baby is contained, and the two older ones have nothing to do. They start going back and forth with each other, then mama gets involved, and all it sounds like to me is a bunch of BULLSHIT. I reach that point (you all know what that point is), stand up and say “OK, let’s go outside until dinner.” Apparently, with modern day society, you can’t let the kids go outside on their own anymore. It’s not like it was 30 years ago, when our parents said, “go outside and come back for dinner when the street lights are on.” Nope, now you have to go outside and supervise… that is BULLSHIT too, but again, I’ll save it for another post.

OK, we go outside, I have a folding, beach chair that I use to sit in the driveway while the kids do all the shit they love to do while mama isn’t watching. “Watch Daddy, I am going to get on the scooter, go really fast, then jump off right before the curb.” Sure, sounds like a good idea. “Look, Daddy, I am going to jump it off the curb then turn real fast like a spin out.” Hey, go for it. Mama is in the house with the baby, but if she comes out here and sees any of this, I am in BIG trouble. I know I am 43 years old, but I am still scared of two women in my life, my mother and my wife.

Tired of looking over my shoulder waiting for her to come out and then feel her wrath, I suggest to the kids to do something else. You know, jedi mind trick stuff. “You don’t want to ride the scooters anymore… you should probably hula hoop or jump rope.” That jedi mind trick works, and they do that, but not for long. The ten year old comes with “Let’s race, Daddy. I can beat you.” Immediately, I think “BULLSHIT.” Lets get it on.

I am not afraid to admit that me stretching took longer than the races. There were three “heats.” Straight sprint from the neighbor’s driveway to the mailbox. The eight year old vs me alone, not close. The ten year old vs me alone, closer but no danger. Then, all three of us at the same time, again I win. I feel like Usain Bolt. For sure, I am more excited about NOT pulling a hammy. But I am not going to lie, I am breathing pretty heavy. At this point, I won and that’s good, but I am looking to make it a clean sweep over the wife as well.

No, No, NO. Hell no, there was no mama vs daddy race. If there is, we will YOUTUBE that mofo. No, instead, I come up with this. I am going to “limp” into the house while I am almost out of breath, and say that I pulled a hammy. The kids love this type of thing so they are all in on it too. We’ll see how it goes. They like to jag us as much as we jag each other so their role is to come in all concerned a few seconds after I “establish the scene.” There is definitely no parenting manual for this BULLSHIT, but I know it goes on here on a regular basis.

In the door, I stumble in, really limping and wincing in pain. Right to the freezer for an ice pack. Mama is sitting on the chair with the baby on a boob. She looks up and goes “What the hell happened to you?”

“I think I pulled my hammy. I was racing the kids, and of course, I didn’t stretch. Damn it. I can’t believe it.” And I gingerly lay down on the couch, keeping the leg outstretch like it’s really messed up.

In between baby slurps, she dead pans, “Did you win?” Of course I won. And then this gem. “Well, look what you won, you jagoff. I can’t believe you pulled your hamstring. Really? You are a J.O.” I was really feeling the love at that moment.

Right on cue, the kids come bursting through the door. The eight year old really plays it up. “Daddy, Daddy, are you ok? You already have ice on it? Does it hurt a lot?” Worthy of an Oscar nomination. Their backs are to their mother at this point, but I can see the smiles on their faces. We can’t keep this one running much longer, especially as mama is over on the chair muttering something to herself about an asshole, a big kid, and now hearing somebody bitch about being in pain.

The ten year old says in my ear, “on the count of three, we better tell mama we are kidding cause she is getting mad.” OK. 1-2-3, in unison, “JUST KIDDING!” Laughter ensues all around. We got mama. I win again, and it feels good. The kids go running back outside. When they are out the door, I get this from mama.

“Funny. Real funny. You got me with that BULLSHIT. But, just so you know, you are real lucky you DIDN’T pull your hamstring because that would’ve been the least of your worries.” WINNER


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