Chronicles of playing against someone actually better than you
Not to be confused with the other article bearing the same name, this one is for people who have lives and don't spend all day playing video games like losers. We know what it's like to be outmatched in activities that actually matter. The following are some of the things that go through our head when that happens.
It's difficult for our ego to accept someone else's superiority. So much so that sometimes we prefer to be in denial over facing the truth. At least I assume that's what goes on in my head when it tries to tell me I can take on someone clearly much better than me. Sometimes it occurs at the worst possible moment. If it's chess, I end up making overambitious moves hoping for a check. Reality hits me hard, however, with a mate in three moves. Another sport where this may occur is football, if you're an outdoorsy kind of person. You and your ragtag bunch of unskilled amateurs might buy into "if you play with your heart, you can beat anyone". That's rarely how it works, however. Not saying anything but 7-1. Yeah.
NO SHOWBOATING, PLEASE
There are rare scenarios when you are fully aware of and willing to accept the other party's superiority. In these cases, you're happy to play second fiddle. Mainly because the opponent's showboating has shown you your rightful place in the corner. Oftentimes the showboating is unintentional. Whatever the intentions behind it, however, the gulf in skill levels still stings. You might be struggling to remember the order of hands in poker. On the other side of the table, your competitors shuffle multiple decks of cards. Cards are flying from hand to hand in synchronised chaos, while they rap the fast verse from Rap God without missing a beat. In a game with as much bluffing as poker, that's sure to psych you out. Not to mention how skilled players in any sport have this certain swagger. You can pick it up from at least a mile away. It will blow you away, almost like the stench of day-old socks. I don't blame them. If I were remotely competent in any sport, I would do the same.
Once you've tried your hardest and still come up short, it will be evident for all to see. Sometimes even your opponents will start to feel bad about completely destroying you, and start to take pity on you. This hurts even more than the worst loss, because it is at this point everyone has lost all respect for you. Their main concern now is to bend over backwards to make life a little better for you, and every moment of it is an insult. This could manifest in a number of ways. Maybe they'll refuse to eat your piece in Ludu. Perhaps they take a card from the pile instead of hitting you with that Wild +4. Hell, maybe they just walk onto their own stumps in cricket, since you'll never be able to dismiss them.
As unpleasant as being outmatched is, you just have to suck it up and get through it. Who knows, if you stick with it long enough, maybe you'll see yourself on the other side of the skill tree someday. Till then, practice hard and suck it up.