x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A champion among losers

I am insanely competitive when it comes to playing any kind of game. Unfortunately, it has also come to my attention that I am also rather poor at playing them.

I am insanely competitive when it comes to playing any kind of game. Unfortunately, it has also come to my attention that - with the exception of Monopoly, at which I have a 100 per cent success rate (go on, challenge me, I dare you) - I am also rather poor at playing them.

Like socks and sandals, games and I are a bad pairing. Sadly, I still can't resist them.

The first time it came to my notice that I might not exactly have a winning streak was during a routine softball game, when I was about nine, that my classmates and I played during one lunch break. Fairly redundant for most of the game, I can remember, as clear as day, the bright yellow tennis ball finally hurtling towards me, requiring nothing more of me than to stand there with my palms held out ready to catch it. Simple, you might think. Child's play, literally.

Well, I'm sure it would have been, for any other child. Not only did I fail to catch the ball, but I also managed to break the index finger on my right hand. With a tennis ball.

As time passed, I discovered other things I lacked the ability to do: hold a tennis racquet properly, play chess for more than five minutes without hearing the words "check" and "mate", and roll a bowling ball that would actually hit a pin.

You'd think, given the number of times I've had to deal with being on the losing side, that I would have become accustomed to being gracious in defeat. You'd be wrong, just as wrong as I've always been when guessing who killed Dr Black in Cluedo. But never mind.

Every time I play anything, be it (at the moment) backgammon or bridge, tennis or Trivial Pursuit, I can't shake the feeling that today, this time, with this game, I'll emerge victorious.

It doesn't help that whenever I see even the smallest sign of impending glory, I think it entirely appropriate to jeer at my loser friends, laughing at their feeble attempts to dethrone me. Five minutes later, when they have done just that, well, I find myself left with little dignity. Tonight, after work, I shall stick to my usual routine, meeting my friends in Abu Dhabi for a game or three of bridge.

And, hey, you never know. Tonight could be my lucky night. And afterwards we can all go out side and build a snowman.