Thursday, May 27, 2004

Pointless Competitions, The General Version
Or, Excellence and What Is Valor?

It doesn't make a lot of logical sense prima facie, the way I've always spent good time and effort doing things that don't matter, or that don't matter in themselves. I mean, did the math competitions make me a better mathematician? Did Quiz Bowl teach me anything in depth, as opposed to acquiring a lot of surface information? Why do I go outside on Fridays and chase around a Frisbee?

Recently, I immersed myself in Scav Hunt, as the picture below made sufficiently clear. I also played a concurrent game of Assassins, which I sort of won. Now, I didn't survive to the end, but I made twice as many kills as the next closest player before I was taken out, and in the delightfully convoluted system of rules and points, that made me a second winner.

So, why did I put in all the effort, in the midst of all my studies, to man a free hot dog stand on the quads, or to wait in a sniper position on a balcony for my target? Well, I'm starting to realize that I need a competitive outlet every now and then. Some arbitrary but consuming diversion, so I don't end up slide-tackling a lounge wall, or deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off... oops, don't call me Ishmael. But you know what I mean. It's healthy for me, as long as it doesn't overwhelm the bonds of camaraderie (which is why I fear playing Super Smash Bros. anymore...)

So this probably goes some way towards justifying my participation in Dance Dance Revolution last night. I'm still sort of puzzling over that one.

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