May 31, 2007


Posted in Lawyer Lifestyles, Lessons Learned at 6:37 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

I have a very ugly, competitive side.  I don’t know if it is the middle child in me, or having heard my father say, “Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser” so many times, but I will admit, I am competitive.  I like to win.  Or, more to the point, I hate to lose.  

I didn’t realize just how ugly my need to win (er, not lose) was until my last year of college.  It was the fall racing season and my crew coach put me in a four for an unimportant regatta.  At the last minute one of the clubs joined the race and in their boat, a former teammate and three girls I absolutely could not stand. 

I won’t bore you with all the details of the race.  You really just need to know this; we lost.  We lost big and I blamed our freshman coxswain.  And then I made her cry.  A couple weeks later she quit.   

It is this mean and nasty side that keeps me from joining the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club, or RSVPing yes to invitations to girls’ game nights.  I know my limits and I know I don’t want anyone else seeing Sore-Loser-Sarah.

This is also the reason I love running so much.  I like entering races, but I know I am never actually going to win one.  I get to set goals and meet them, and sure, sometimes during the races I will pick out other runners and decide I have to beat him or her.  But more often than not the races are big enough that I don’t know for sure who I beat or, more importantly, if they beat me. 

Of course this running utopia came crashing in on me when the firm announced its teams for the Philadelphia Bar Association Run.  I was on the “A” Team. 

Our firm typically fields two teams.  A-team consists of those members of our firm that consistently rank well in their age group, thus giving that team the advantage in the overall rankings.  B-team consists of everyone else that signs up.  Due to the absence of a crucial member of A-team, yours truly was slipped in to fill her shoes. 

Now, at first, I was excited about this exaltation among the runners in the office.  But then the reality set in; while our firm never wins, at least two of the members of our team take this run pretty seriously.  Plus, Boss suddenly took interest in the results.  And damnit, I already had plans to be out late the night before.   

Sore-Loser-Sarah had Trying-to-Take-it-All-in-Stride-Sarah terrified.  What if I finished behind my time last year?  What if I finished behind a member of the B-team?  What if I didn’t finish? 

“It is just a silly race,” I tried to tell myself.  I wasn’t going to lose my job if I didn’t run it in under 20 minutes.  Even if that was firm policy, I was already on my way out.   

To placate all my selves, I set a secret goal (which would make those of you that run laugh out loud that I considered this a good time for a 5k — but whatever, shut up) while telling all those that would listen that I was sure to have the crappiest run of my life.  I even let everyone know just how late I was out the night before, without letting them in on the fact that I was working, not partying.  I was able to run a good race, I didn’t throw up (which was part of my secret goal), I beat last year’s time and didn’t finish behind any members of the B-team.  I was even so good as to cheer for my co-workers as they finished the race.     

Now, had I not run well, would I still have stuck around and cheered for the rest of my co-workers?  I really want to say yes, but I also really don’t want to lie to my readers.   


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