Anyone who has ever participated in a competitive athletic competition can relate. Perhaps I shouldn't make such an all-inclusive statement ... it's probably more accurate to say "the majority of those who have ever participated ..." At any rate, let's move on.

I began playing sports at a young age. From Little League baseball to football and basketball and everything in between (i.e. bowling, tennis, badminton, croquet, bocce ball, etc. etc.), I've embraced the opportunity of competing against another person or team. While I never made it to the professional level (I can hear you chuckling ... stop it.), I did enjoy a modicum of success, especially on the hardwood. And when I had my "game face" on, I was determined to win ... period. I think most athletes would agree with that stance.

Did my intensity occasionally go too far? No question about it. There were times when I got so angry I wanted to destroy my opponent - both figuratively and literally. Usually it just amounted to a few choice words echoing throughout the gymnasium, but there were a few times when things almost got out of hand.

Luckily, or perhaps wisely, I seldom let that ultra-competitive spirit manifest itself in actual punches being thrown, but I can definitely remember a time or three when I'd had enough of the cheap-shot SOB trying to guard me and delivered a well-placed elbow or two while fighting for a rebound.

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