My friend, trying to calm her daughter's nerves at a horse show told her to relax and have fun.
The young teen turned to her mother and said: "I didn't come here to have fun, I came to win."
I used to think this was hilarious until I heard my school-age daughter tell me the same thing. And then I realized: Mackensie is just like me when it comes to competitiveness.
I thought maybe I'd mellow with age. That maybe I wouldn't feel the need to crush the competition at everything from work-related events to Go Fish with the kids. But I still love to win.
Apparently I'm not alone: researchers say that competitive drive peaks around 50, according to Research Digest. Even though researchers went into it thinking that competitiveness would wane with age (citing things like reduction in testosterone and reduced self-confidence) they found that middle-aged people in the study were still competitive.
Which explains a lot about why things like Words with Friends are so popular amongst our age group — it's a way to compete with something as passive as a cell phone.
Not long ago an old friend of mine – one who used to storm out of my house if I was beating him at Trivial Pursuit – made a video for Facebook of himself playing basketball (he was a high school star) and the gist of the video was that middle-aged people still have "it."
What's the "it?" Drive. Ambition. The will to win.
Not everyone views us older folks as still having the drive to win. I was interviewing a prospective woman yesterday to coach the 17-year-old in an upcoming rodeo queen contest.
"I have to warn you," the young coach prospect told me sternly. "My philosophy at these competitions is that the girls aren't there to make friends, they are there to win. You OK with that?"
I just smiled and said "I think we'll get along just fine."