It’s opening day for Major League Baseball. That brings back memories … not all of them pleasant.

I once pitched for the worst baseball team in little league history. I’m not kidding. When I injured my shoulder and got yanked out of the game, we lost by 20 runs. We did a lot better when I pitched, but we still lost. Every single game. It was humiliating.

Still, the lure of the underdog is a powerful one. I spent much of my career working for underdog companies that competed with Microsoft, Intel, and other tech giants. We didn’t always win, but the competition never got old. The challenge never got old. The game never got old.

I’ve always identified with the underdog – probably because I grew up with nothing and had to fight for everything. And while I like to win and hate to lose, the thrill has never been about winning. It’s always been about the challenge. The competition. The game. It’s a beautiful thing.

After all these years and all that fighting, I find myself in a pretty good place in life. I doubt that’s a coincidence. And yet, all I can think of is the next big challenge.

Clearly, I’ve got a pretty big chip on my shoulder. Something to prove. To whom, I’m not really sure. Maybe my dad. My big brother. Or the kids I grew up with. Who knows? Regardless of its origin, that need provides an essential raison d’être.

It makes complete sense, actually. Competition is a perfect metaphor for life. What matters isn’t who wins. It ends the same for all of us. What matters is playing the game. The challenge. The competition. Every day of your life. It’s a beautiful thing.

Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” My feeling exactly.

Image Alex Shamis via Flickr

  • danny

    yes right on. older i get the more i look for a good verbal challenge.this election year is great many challenges go trump

  • danny

    by the way i read your column and enjoy them any time i see your name i jump to your page thankyou steve keep all the good work big fan thank you danny