A sea lion suns itself on San Francisco's Pier 39. In retrospect, probably not the right image for the title of this post.
I've been an athlete for as long as I can remember, and all of that time I've been balancing my athletic performance against my ego. At times, especially when I was younger, I was wildly unsuccessful and let my ego run amok much to my detriment as a person and a friend.
When given a choice between competing or practicing with those that are better than I was or playing with a group that is not quite as fast or strong, I always chose the later, simply because it made my ego feel better. I remember one evening getting in the pool with the Masters Swimming program at the University of Miami, the pool was filled with ex-Olympic and competitive NCAA swimmers. Needless to say I got my ass handed to me, and never returned; my ego got bent. If I had stuck it out I would surely be a better swimmer today for it.
At 45-years old, I can see what's happening now. If my ego gets slapped around a little; well, that's a good thing. It deserves the beating.