Like many kids growing up during the ‘excessive 80s,’ I loved playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! But, for reasons unbeknownst to my young self at the time, I always hesitated before any ‘win.’
Was I worried at the possibility of actually losing? Did I fear having to go back to the beginning, to work myself back up to this point, knowing my parents surely wouldn’t allow me the extra hour of video game time to do so?
There were likely elements of these scenarios (and many others) at play during those strangely stressful moments, but I think more than anything, I just didn’t want the responsibility of being a better ‘fighter,’ or possibly becoming the ‘champ.’
I realize that may sound odd, especially for a young man whose entire life at the time was essentially driven by competition, by overcoming opponents, by pushing himself to his absolute limits, with his ‘eyes on the prize’ of victory. Well, victory and getting the girl at the front of the class to notice him, but that’s a topic for another day.
But now I realize that my hesitation was not so much a fear of the fight but, rather, a fear of the responsibility that comes with winning. In some ways, that grade-school ideal remains to this day.
I’m not saying I don’t still have my ‘eyes on the prize.’ I actively seek out opportunities to learn and grow, both at work and in my personal life. Still, as great as it must be to have the ‘big office upstairs,’ I’m sure my boss has looked out the window more than a few nights, watching us all head home for the day, and thought about the ‘good ol’ days’ when she was able to do the same.
They say “it’s good to be the king,” and I’m sure it probably is. However, kings also have to endure the constant attempts to overthrow them, often from members of their own family, or those they considered ‘close friends.’
So, while I would have loved to be the pixelated boxing champion of the world back then, I just couldn’t take the pressure of it all. Hey, when you’re a kid, that’s about the most pressure you have to endure.
There’s a lot to be said for being just an average person. Not necessarily mediocre, but not a ‘shining star’ either. Somewhere right in the middle, like being wrapped in a Snuggie of ‘pretty good.’
Sure, you may not be able to reap all the benefits of the ‘kings,’ but you also won’t have to endure the stresses, and you won’t have to be looking over your shoulder all the time. In the end, you can keep the gold medal. I’ll take my middle-of-the-line “Intercontinental Champion” belt every time.
by Gordon T. Elliott | Residential Life Magazine