My Over Competitive Brother

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Last week, I was on vacation.

Well. Not a true vacation, but certainly had off from work with nothing to do.

I spent the first weekend at my family reunion on Saturday, at Ridley Creek State Park. The reunion was small, with about 25 family members attending from my father's side of the family. Our patralineal family members are mostly scattered across the country, with various cousins or siblings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York Metro area and Albany. The last time I was able to see the majority of my father's family was at his funeral, which we will mark the 4th anniversary of his passing this August.

K* (brother asks I never use his name, his wife's or his children's on the blog), his wife and I planned go stay overnight at my mother's house in Phoenixville after the reunion, which is on a golf course. We planned ahead of time to go golfing. I wanted to go to our old Country Club, where our family was a member for about 10 years before my father passed away. We weren't members anymore, but we still had many friends there, and getting a round on a Sunday wouldn't be simple, but I figured calling in a favor to the two sons of Frank to play one round wouldn't be a major issue.

K said it would be "cheesy" for us to try and get a round on a very private golf course that we weren't members. To me, we haven't ever tried it before, and I was told by friends of my family that they would be happy to get me out for a round anytime I wanted. I didn't think it was a big deal, but I wasn't about to argue with him over this.

I haven't really spent time on here writing about K. He is a good guy, but like anyone has his faults. He told me a story that the German based company he works for, did a character profile on all management, using various tests and intereviews and determined two characteristics about him: 1. He's ambitious. 2. He needs to work on his empathy & compassion.

Gotta love those Germans. Right on the money as a businessman and as a brother.

What my brother doesn't know is that one of my brother-in-laws was supposed to golf with us on Sunday. But since I get so few moments to hang out with my brother alone, I approached my mother seeing if it would be rude to ask to golf alone with K (my brother-in-law at the time was in Italy on vacation). I get so few chances to have 1 on 1 time with him, and adding another to the round just changes the dynamic. My mother and sister both thought that P* would certainly understand.

Golfing with K was about as I expected. He played bad at first, and wasn't talkative, but unlike years past he wasn't as grumpy. I played well, especially early on, and he didn't have anything to say. On my first four holes, I chipped on and 1 putted on three holes and had one chip going in for par. When I golf with my other friends, I may get a sincere "nice shot" or other compliment. From K, I got either silence or "What luck!"

After our first 9 holes, I shot 51 and he shot 58. I didn't say anything to him. Didn't make a joke at his poor play, I helped him find lost balls, and didn't call him out on his scoring.

On the back nine, my game got worse and his game started to get better. What do you think happened?

He becomes Mr. Talkative, making fun of my poor play and commenting on my scoring. I will be first to admit that i'm a poor loser and the LAST thing you want to do with me is mock me when i'm playing badly (or any of my sports teams for that matter). After one comment too many, I turned to him and growled, "Hey, I didn't say shit to you while you sucked on those first nine holes - fuck you, you douchebag!"

He didn't say anything after that, while I quietly simmered & fumed over my poor play and his big mouth. Final score to the round - he beats me by 1 stroke.

That basically sums up our years growing up. He's three years older than me. He was competitive and ambitious about everything. We could be eating cereal and it would be a sport. It served him well as a businessman, he has been very successful. I'm ambitious, but not nearly as ambitious as him - my attitude is that I work to live, I don't live to work. As brothers, I don't think we are that close. We see each other at Thanksgiving, and at our family reunion. Twice a year.

He is who he is. He really hasn't changed since we were kids, except now that he is successful, he wears it like a badge.

One Thanksgiving, we were at the table, having port and his in-laws were there. I said how a key difference between K and I was that I was more cerebral. In my mind I was thinking of me, as the nerdy kid in my bedroom putting together the Commodore 64, chemistry set and rocket launcher while he was practicing jump shots for the LaSalle High School basketball team.

I'm sure in his mind I was saying he was dumber than me, and being the competitive person he is, K took offense, chortling in contempt, "You aren't more cerebral than me! Take a look around at this house?"

Two examples over a lifetime of the basic idea, "I'm better than you".

The weekend wasn't a disaster, it was just another less than satisfying experience with my over competitive brother. We didn't leave angry, and I got over his bullshit after the game.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on July 7, 2008 12:23 AM.

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