6 Of Life’s Most Meaningless Yet Satisfying Rivalries

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A rivalry can drive you to tears and despair, like trying to win the breakup with your ex or just trying to beat your brother at fantasy football. But not all rivalries carry such emotional weight. There are little, meaningless rivalries–usually the kind you start with a perfect stranger–that might seem completely pointless or even pathetic, but ultimately matter because you’ll feel like a champ if you come out on top. Here are the pettiest, yet most satisfying, rivalries that life has to offer.

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1. The Treadmill Run-Off

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You’re at the gym, jogging away, blasting Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself” and feeling like a straight boss as you melt away your beer belly. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you notice the guy next to you is running a little faster. He’s wearing spandex shorts, probably listening to the Carly Rae Jepsen Pandora station. You pick up the pace. And then he picks up the pace. The attack is on. Just when you think you’re gonna fly off the belt, he lets up, defeated. It doesn’t matter if you’re completely drenched and can’t even walk the next day–that’s the sweat and stamina of a champion.

2. The Parking Lot Rumble

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You’re in a supermarket parking lot, just trying to pick up some freakin’ chicken wings, but it’s completely full. After driving up and down each row a half-dozen times, you finally notice it: The prime spot, right in front of the store entrance, where a minivan is about to leave. Score! But a douche driving a Prius eyes the same one and waits on the other side. Turn signal on and engine revved, you wait for the van to hightail it out of there. Luckily, you have the advantage, and slide in smoother than butter. Parking lot win.

3. The Gamers’ Revenge

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You’re playing “Call of Duty” online and some meathead is talking trash because you missed ONE FREAKIN’ SHOT THAT DIDN’T EVEN REALLY MATTER OK. He’s shredding you to pieces on the mic, but–during the next game–you score a golden opportunity: He needs you for backup, but you can just as easily leave him in the dust. Your ego takes precedence over team loyalty; you abandon him to fend for himself against the Juggernauts. Sucker.

4. The Competitive College Bro

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The teacher’s handing back your exams one by one. The kids who do well leave it face-up on their desks and breathe a loud sigh of relief. The guy in front of you, though–who snores like an overheated elephant, driving you crazy all semester–takes one look and shoves it into his backpack. But it’s too late; you saw the “F” over his shoulder. It doesn’t even matter that you got a “D-” because at least you did better than that loser.

5. Clash Of The Dog Owners

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Yeah, you love your girlfriend, but you’ll be damned if the dog loves her more than it loves you. When you both hold out a Beggin’ Strip and Sparky runs your way instead of hers, rest assured it’s because a pet’s affection is directly proportional to your worth as a human being.

6. The Wannabe NASCAR Brawl

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Double lane. Red light. The guy next to you creeps up a few inches, so you creep up a few inches, straining your neck to see when the other light turns yellow so you can get a head start. You’re first off the mark. Yeah, it’s stupid, but it feels damn good. Even better is when you’re far enough in front of the other guy that you can move into his lane ahead of him. Pure bliss.

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Madeline Roth (@MadelineRoth1) always wins, wins, wins, no matter what.