Monday, May 2, 2011

Eating Humble Pie, Voluntarily

I thought I would continue my series on sportsmanship with a quick look at some things that make a good sportsman.  As I thought about my satirical look at "that guy", I realized that the good players out there that are fun to play against also have some common traits.  Of all of them, I think humility is perhaps one of the characteristics of greatest value for a good sportsman to have.   Let's talk about why.

First, let's just address the fact that maintaining a humble perspective in life generally makes you a better person.  To be humble in any competition makes you a great competitor.  It means that you appreciate the efforts of your opponent and as well as your own ability, but refuse to place higher importance on yourself than others.  This is a huge thing.  It isn't easy.  It has to be intentional, but humble people are more easy going, easier to get along with, and more fun to be around.  I have quite a few regular opponents who fit this description.  That makes games so much easier to play.

Second, where probability is involved, things never go as planned.  You can do the math.  You can write whole dissertations about how your crisis suits should be able to mow down that unit of space marines in cover, then you roll a handful of 1s. It happens.  There isn't anything you can do about it (without fixing your dice, that is).  I learned this lesson at a big WFB GT.  One year, earlier in my career as a Warhammer player, I participated in a tournament and my dice were a special brand of crap.  After two games of horrible dice, I realized that I either needed to calm down about my dice luck or risk having a heart attack.  I decided to calm down.  Taking luck as luck makes life much easier to handle and realizing that a good roll is as lucky as a bad roll is unlucky.  Realizing that sometime your tactical genius doesn't win the game, dice do, helps you to remain humble.  Case in point, I played a friend this past weekend.  He wanted a practice game for a GT coming up here in Texas.  He had a GK army that was decent but nowhere near optimized. I had a Vulkan list with 5 dreads.  All things even, it should have been a somewhat even game.  He was new to the new GK and my Vulkan list was fairly competitive.  My dice crapped on me big time.  So, there was no use getting upset.  It wouldn't help me any.  So, I laughed it off and played until it was terribly obvious that I was going to lose and I shook his hand.  My opponent even mentioned my terrible dice luck.  It didn't bother me too much though.  I got to play a game and had fun with a friend.  I even got to meet one of the guys from Chapterhouse Studios, so it was a good day. 

Last thing for this post.  This doesn't mean you can't like to win or even try to.  It is a game that is intentionally competitive by design.  I mean, it has two armies essentially killing each other. But, at the end of the day, this is a game of two guys (most often) who are playing with little plastic soldiers.  What is there to go crazy about?  It is a game folks.  It isn't the World Cup or the Superbowl.  Ultimately, you are saying that you are better at playing with plastic soldier than another person.  Is this anything to really center your life around?  Sure it's a hobby and one I gladly partake of investing quite a bit of time.  However, it's just a diversion.  In the grand scheme of life, if it comes down to my family, friends, job, etc. or Warhammer, the plastic soldiers go.

So, maintain a humble attitude. It helps you to have more fun, to be fun to be around, and to maintain a right perspective of this hobby's rightful place in the grand scheme of things.  Being humble also makes you a person that people want to play against and be around.  It seems like humble pie doesn't taste that bad after all.

2 comments: said...

Dave, Nick the Chapterhouse Guy here. Was good to meet you as well.

Hey if it makes you feel better my dice crapped out on me on the game I played against him as well. His dice rolling was crazy good vs mine.

Dave said...

Thanks for commenting Nick! I am glad that I got to meet you and hope we can talk some more.

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