For those who know us best, the gene that determines competitiveness runs strong in both Factora and Borchers families. It has to. I’ve never met anyone who’s more competitive than I am. That is, not until I met Nick.
Competitiveness comes in many forms. There’s the obvious kind that reveals itself in sports. The Michael Jordan/Tiger Woods (sans sex scandal) kind of competition. This is the “I CANNOT LOSE. EVER.” gene which makes athletes train twice as hard and cultivates a near military discipline that most of us civilians would find unbearable.
Then there’s other genes of competition, more subtle but just as lethal. This competitive gene revolves around the oratory debate stratosphere, aka “I MUST BE RIGHT. I AM RIGHT.” kind of thinking. It’s a gene that makes its way into the most innocuous of situations – bowling, finding a parking space, starting a campfire, any household project, insurance claims…
You think these situations are not competitive? Move in with us for a week, you’ll understand after that.
No matter what the situation, Nick and I often pit ourselves against the opponent, be it a piece of stubborn firewood that will not flame up along with the others or a slow car in the Panera Bread parking lot who is blocking traffic. Everything’s a competition. No dispute too small, no challenge too big. There are two trophy words uttered in our house that carry more weight than anything: I WIN.
Sometimes it’s shouted, sometimes it’s whispered into a billowing pile of laundry. Whatever needs conquering shall be conquered in our house.
So, you can imagine the kind of raised eyebrows and smack talk in our marriage when the competition is between us. It can get ugly, but it’s always entertaining. Many people do not know that Nick is, as Keith Borchers said in his best man speech at our wedding, “an ego maniac who thinks he’s sweet at everything.”
Save opera and any form of dancing, this is true about Nicholas David Borchers. He hates losing. He can’t stand being second. He likes strategy and mind-games during poker. He’s all about focus and readjustment. Don’t be fooled by his calm demeanor. There’s a beast inside him called THE WINNER’S CIRCLE.
And then there’s me. Don’t think that I don’t have my own monster and even according to Nick, I may be more competitive than him. There’s a reason why I have the Rocky IV soundtrack on my iPod. Most people wouldn’t see it coming, kind of like a CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE that didn’t come up on your weather outlook.
My competitiveness is often stuffed away because of its monstrosity. It can and has ruined moments of friendly game playing. While everyone else shrugs after a loss, I seethe inside. Competitiveness is like a constant search for perfection, which can never be attained. So, the desire to win or be right or dominate knows no rest. But, it’s not always appropriate to be competitive so I, along with Nick, keep it to myself. We’re like two man-eating sharks in a Sea World tank: it’s in our blood and in our nature, but we’re trained to be harmless.
That was a long introduction into the heart of this post, but it’s critical for you to know the background of our competitive edges.
Nick and I have a combined goal to be and become healthier parents. Running around with Isaiah necessitates optimal states of health so we decided to commit to losing a few pounds. I need to shed my pregnancy weight and Nick, many months ago, invented a campaign called, “Don’t Get Fat” because of his fear of rolling into a “fat new dad.”
So we made a deal and the stakes are high.
Beginning Sunday, March 7th, we are having our own personal Biggest Loser competition. We adapted the show to our own lives and here are the ground rules:
Weekly weigh-ins on Sunday
Largest percentage of weight loss wins
Two goal dates: June 4, 2010 (our 5 year anniversary) and September 4, 2010.
Whoever has the largest percentage of weight loss on June 4, 2010 has the intermediate prize – winner gets one evening of their choice every week to go out and do whatever s/he wants while Isaiah is with the other parent.
If you don’t understand the impact of that reward, go back and read it again. This prize is HUGE. This can mean going out with your friends. For Nick it can mean going to play racquetball with Books and Sam or going to the library for a few hours. For me that means extended trips to a coffee shop or taking my time at a farmer’s market.
The ultimate prize, come September 4, will be individualized. Nick has yet to announce what his prize will be if he wins. If I win, I get to go to the conference of my choice in any part of the United States. (I’m such a nerd. I adore conferences on writing, feminism, media, etc…) Beside the fact that I want to shed my preggers weight, that conference-attending prize alone all but guarantees that I will win. Hello? Travel? Hotels? Learning? Meeting new writers and artists? That’s what I was born to do.
This competition is huge and normally, I would not post something like this on our blog, but I figured if our friends and family – and God knows who else on the internet is reading this – is in the know, we are accountable to seeing this through. And we will.
It’s man vs. woman. Focus vs. Passion. Tall vs. Short. Endurance vs. Intervals.
Choose your team now and place your bets. Nick is team blue. I am team green.
Cheers to a healthier Borchers/Factora-Borchers family in 2010.
(And, here’s to ME, cause you know I’m going to lick this thing…)