Scattered Pieces

These are the words I held back

An Uncommon Characteristic

If there’s one trait that I don’t normally show, then that would be my tendency to be extremely competitive. In most occasions, I try not to actively participate in games. However, things are quite different if I find the game interesting or if the desire to outperform others is very strong. When that happens, I am often amazed at myself. What was once an introverted and timid guy is now an extroverted, assertive and seemingly aggressive guy. I find myself going to great measures just so that I, or my team, won’t lose. And all these happened during our New Year’s Party with the whole family.

Sometime after eating, one of my aunts announced that there would be games. My aunt started calling names of cousins and relatives so that she could form groups of five. My name was eventually called and I had no choice but to participate because I didn’t want to spoil everyone’s mood. So I decided to go with the flow.

I became group mates with an uncle, an aunt and two older female cousins. Upon learning that I was part of their group, my uncle was quick to tell everyone that we would win because I was in their group.

“Hey! We have the most competitive of the family!”, my uncle said.

Now that did it. He just made me become competitive.

Not long after, we found out what we would be playing, as well as the mechanics of the game. We were to play Guesstures. Guesstures is a board game wherein one representative of the group picks four words. The representative must make use of gestures in order for the other group members to guess what the words are. There’s a twist. The game is timed. The words, found in a card, are placed on a timer device. When a word is guessed correctly, the representative must snatch the card out of the time device. If he/she fails to do so, then no point will be credited even if the word was guessed correctly. Meanwhile, the timer will move on to the other cards and will also “eat” the card if it is not pulled in a given amount of time.

Out of the four teams that were created, it was our team (Team 1) that led for most of the game. This led me to become nervous and pressured to deliver the gestures really well. My previous experiences on games such as these were not necessarily all good.

When it was turn to make the gestures, only two out of four words were guessed correctly. It was supposed to be three had I pulled one card in time. During my time as the representative, I tried to plan my moves really well. Like I tried to place the easiest word first and the hardest word last. I also tried to think of how I would present the gesture for each word. I was actually able to come up with a gesture for all the words but my delivery wasn’t exactly what I would call “best”.

As I said before, I forgot what it was like to be an introvert during my time as the representative. It was like the presence of those who were not my team mates did not matter despite the fact that I was aware that I was being watched. At that moment, I suddenly found myself ignoring everyone except my team mates. It seemed as if the experience transformed me into an entirely different person.

I entered the house as a shy, quiet and reserved guy. Now I was a bubbly, noisy and assertive guy. I say assertive because I found myself fighting for our team when we were almost going to lose because of the score. One of my cousins, who served as the scorekeeper, made an error in calculating the score for our team so it appeared as if we weren’t the winning team. Another incident to back my claim was when I thought I saw only 2 cards were picked up by the team who was battling us in the last round.

Okay, I think I need to fill you up with more details. By the end of the 4th round, Teams 3 and 4 were already down and out, meaning that they won’t be able to catch up with our score even if they guess all the words for the 5th round. That left my team and Team 2 standing. Our team had 15 points while Team 2 had 13 points. Time for the 5th round. Okay, just so you know, the game master decided to double the score for the 5th round. This meant that each word that was guessed correctly was equivalent to 2 points. I was more competitive than ever because our team was suddenly vulnerable. Why?

1. The other team could easily catch up and even beat us if we don’t correctly guess enough words

2. The last representative was my uncle, who kept on avoiding the role. He claimed that he sucked at making gestures.

Surprisingly, we were able to pull it off. We were able to guess two words while the other team was able to guess three words. Or so they said. Personally, I really thought that the third card wasn’t snatched in time. I didn’t waste a single second saying that I was positive that I only saw two cards. The situation was intense. My mom, who was the last representative of the other team, and I were facing each other, each contradicting the statement of the other. We never really got to verify it but my uncle said that there really was three so I had to let go of the issue. Hey, we’re still winners of the game though.

After that game, there was another game. This time, a four-digit number was given to a group representative and he/she must get the message to the other group members. It is very much like “pass the message” but words cannot be used to deliver the message/number. We had to come up with a way as to how we would represent the ones, the tens, the hundreds and the thousands. My team, a different composition, eventually came up with a plan.

I decided to be the representative first so that I would get it over with. I was given the number 2015. I had no trouble passing the message through gesture but our team was working slowly. For example, the person in front of me wanted to me to repeat the whole process so that enabled the other team to present first. Fortunately, they got the number wrong as they claimed that the number was 2005. We ended up getting the point and the next one. Before I knew it, we were already declared the winners.

Two in a row for me, huh?

Later on, I had some “me” time and this was where I started reflecting. Honestly, I hate playing games but if the need arises, I will definitely be competitive and determined. These factors should help me win games, but I think the opposite can be said, in my case. Being competitive and determined does, in a way, help me win games but it’s the anxiety which I think is the main product of the combination of competitiveness and determination. This is one reason as to why I don’t like participating in games. I mean, surely no one would like to be in a state of anxiety, right?

Another reason is that these factors deviate me from my “standard” personality. In the family, I am known as shy, quiet and selectively social. In the games, however, I could not be described with those adjectives and that makes me uncomfortable. Why? Because it makes others look at me in a different way and I don’t want that. Actually, I was able to confirm this with my mom when we got home. I’d prefer that others know me for who I always am and those are the qualities of an introvert.

At the end of the day, it’s my introverted side that will always be seen. So now you know why I usually don’t like participating in games.

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