It’s a sportsy time of year. Yale beat Army in a classic game that we will tell our friends we were at even if we weren’t; the NFL is underway and under investigation; the MLB playoffs have started, but no one really noticed because Derek Jeter isn’t in them.
Just look at all that sports knowledge we have! Wow. Surprising, right? You might not associate WKND with sports. It’s true, we aren’t exactly jocks. But that doesn’t mean a competitive fire doesn’t burn deep inside our cultured and sensitive hearts. WKND will compete with anyone, just not in the traditional ways. We may not be fast, but we’re quick-witted (at least we think we are). We may not be strong, but we have strong emotions, and that has to count for something, right? Anyway, what we’re saying is that WKND gets its adrenaline rush in unusual ways. So here’s a small sampling. After all, anything can be a sport if you’re overly competitive about it.
Sport: Social Climbing
Rules of the game: If you have to ask the rules, you’ll never win. But chances are you won’t reach the peak anyway, because, well, looks are everything. Not that there really is a peak. There’s always someone cooler than you. But here’s how to start!
1. Throw a pregame and intentionally leave out one member of the group! It will start drama and you’ll be talked about, aka relevant.
2. Facebook friend all the “cool kids,” then buy a disposable camera or a Polaroid and start uploading immediately. They’ll figure out how to get in them.
3. Use your vacation home as a tool to get people to like you. Invite them over! Don’t have one? Make it seem like you do! They’ll wonder why they aren’t being invited over! Note: Never commit to any trips to your nonexistent vacation home. This will send you back to square one.
4. Start being mean to one in four people you like. This will create a really favorable social dynamic. It will put the ball in someone else’s court, so they can climb you! (Sports joke alert, because this is a sport, and I’m sporty!)
5. Ignore the underlings. They are like, completely irrelevant. But also this might come back to bite you. Seriously, this is the hard one because it all depends on your own judgment. What if that “smart” kid is actually a hipster? Hipsters are, like, totally in. You have to make the right call. For this one, remember what they always say, judge or be judged.
Play this game and you too can soon be saying, “Hey! You can totally sit here!” And thinking “Tap me for Bones!”
If you think I’m talking about someone in specific, the only response is to quote my man Gucci Mane and throw out a, “Bitch I might be.” If you think I’m talking about you, then I totally am.
Contact Leah Motzkin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sport: Competitive Normalcy
Yalies are good at lots of things, but being normal is not one of them. Molecular biology, playing cello, critical discourse, Irish stepdance: So many things come so much easier to us than Normalcy does. But being Yalies, we are loath to admit that anything escapes us. This is why Competitive Normalcy would be such a draw.
The first round of Competitive Normalness would require Yalies to sit through a Normal movie, doing Normal things like eating popcorn and texting their friends. But this would be the real bottleneck, as Yalies got caught checking their graphing calculators rather than their phones, not-so-sneakily reading Virginia Woolf on their Google Glass and emailing their professors about office hours rather than communicating with friends. Before they found out whether Katniss hooks up with Peeta, they would have already stormed out of the theater, tortured by visions of their medical degree floating out of reach while they squandered precious Friday-night hours on gladiatorial rubbish.
The second test would also be technology-related, and it would bring the battle directly to the iPhone screen: only Normal texting, snapchatting, tweeting and Facebook posting would permit advancement in the tournament. Sliding into a hedge fund manager’s DMs with tactful inquiries about summer internships would be the downfall of more than a few Bulldogs. Creating new social media startups to compete with Facebook and Twitter is an ab-Normal pitfall worthy of expulsion. And only those with a true flare for Normalcy would successfully conquer the urge to use proper grammar in texts. These lol-ers would be the elite: certainly not Normal, but exceptional at faking it.
A simulated classroom scenario would comprise the final round: a quiz handed back, one menacing letter scrawled in red across the top: B. Participants would be monitored for sweat secretion, heart rate spikes and tears. If they could take the grade in stride, they would be certified Normal. Yessss, they’d think, allowing themselves a moment of satisfaction before moving on to the next challenge.
Contact Jacob Potash at email@example.com .
Sport: Watching Football
It’s a fair question: Who’s more competitive, NFL teams or their fans? On the one hand, the players do really want to win — you have to, if you want to go out there and get concussed back to the Stone Age every Sunday for 16 weeks of the year. So the players are probably pretty dedicated. But they also get paid a ton of money, so if they lose, at least they’re still rich.
Fans, on the other hand, have no backup plan. If their team loses, their life is ruined, full stop. The sun will never shine as bright, the birds will never chirp as loud. So the stakes for fans are pretty high. And nowhere is that more obvious than when you sit down on the couch for gameday.
I’m not talking about opposing fans here — that would be too obvious. No, Watching Football gets competitive even between fans of the same teams. Because no one can care more than you do. It’s not possible. So if someone else curses at the opposing coach on the TV, you have to threaten him to the point that it actually gets kind of uncomfortable for people in the room. If someone screams in anguish when your quarterback throws an interception, you have to cry. If someone else drops the chicken wing they were eating when your running back fumbles, you have to flip the TV over and break it — even if it’s not yours. No, especially if it’s not yours.
Because whether your team wins or loses, you can only win or lose if the other football fans on the couch next to you begin to doubt themselves. You can only win if they drive home after the game thinking, “Wow. Maybe I’m not such a big fan after all.” Because winning means someone has to lose. And that’s what Watching Football is all about.
Contact Cam Lamoureux at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sport: Streaming Netflix
Michael Jordan said “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” Seeing as the first thought to cross my mind at the mention of Jordan’s name is, “He is very tall,” I’m probably not the best person to comment on sporting endeavors. However, I can somewhat relate to the desire to just play, have fun and enjoy “the game” – whatever that may mean.
I understand the nature of competition: There’s something I want, but someone else wants it too. For Jordan, that was NBA championships, I think. For me, it’s streaming bandwidth.
With midterms approaching and the weight of the world on everyone’s shoulders, there is only one game I am prepared to play: competing for the title of “couch potato.” But this competition is not easy. Yale Secure is incapable of providing me with my one training tool: Netflix.
Yesterday, “Gilmore Girls” was returned to my home screen. This was a monumental moment for me. I was ready to have fun and enjoy the “game” of an evening of idyllic Connecticut falls, commiserating over my addiction to coffee shops and falling back in love with men who wear flannel. Instead, I was faced with a terrible problem. I wasn’t the only person in this race.
I was ready. I had prepared. I had sacrificed my standard diet to use my lunch swipe at Durfee’s and I had made sure I had my lucky pajamas on ready for the fight. Sitting at the foot of my bed, I hit play, and I waited. Would I reach the goal – would I make it to the end of one episode? Or two? Or, let’s be honest, it’s midterms, can a full season go by without interruption?
I had to fight the competition. With everyone prying for the same streaming bandwidth to get them through the week ahead, it’s not enough to be the best prepared. It really is up to the hands of fate. On Monday, when I approach the same race, will I able to just hit play, have fun and enjoy the game? I don’t know. I guess that’s a question for a student tech…
Contact Stephanie Addenbrooke at email@example.com .