They often say humility is a virtue. However, check out these individuals that were challenged to an activity they were secretly good at, only to later turn the tables on their opponents who had originally underestimated them. Just another reason why you should never prejudge the worth, value, or ability of people based on their looks alone.
Source list available at the end.
I played a lot of Mario Kart on the N64 when I was a kid. Years later, there was this one guy who would always beg the people around him to play, but no one ever wanted to. After a while, he proceeded to swear at all of them saying things like: “You are all just afraid to lose…”,” No one can beat me…”, etc. This went on for a while. One day, I finally heard enough.
I turned to him and said, “Show me what you got!” He sheepishly grinned completely unaware of what was about to come his way. I sat there bored and won every round. When the score reached 11:0 (with all of the wins as mine), he started getting pissed, especially because now everyone was watching and making fun of him for being such a show off earlier.
At one point, he just screamed and proceeded to press some buttons on my controller. I stood up and said, “Alright.” I turned off the N64 and went for a smoke.
I was challenged to a mechanical bull riding contest by an obnoxious pick-up artist type of guy who wouldn’t leave my friends and me alone. What he didn’t know was that I grew up on a ranch and literally put myself through college by starting young horses under saddle. So, I’m pretty good at staying on a bucking animal. He fell off in a few seconds, and I lasted almost 2 minutes. Since we were at a bar the operator had to start it on “easy.” It took a while for it to be ramped up enough so that it was difficult for me. To his credit, he did leave us alone after because he left immediately.
In high school, I was very athletic. I lettered all 4 years in baseball and football, played D1 college football, and baseball in the Cape Cod Baseball League. After college, I let myself go and slipped into depression and mental health issues. I gained a TON of weight. I was 5’10” and 375lbs. Physically, no one expected anything out of me. I looked like your stereotypical computer nerd, and I was a software engineer. So when people heard that, they didn’t exactly think “athlete.”
Well, my work had this softball league. My buddy, a few cubes over, was pissed his team wouldn’t be able to field enough players. After asking everyone in our office, he reluctantly made his way over to my desk and invited me to play.
First at bat hit a home run (left field), second at bat also hit a home run (left field), and third at bat did the same (left field). Finally, I’m forth at bat. I told them I was going to hit an inside the park home run and everyone laughed. The outfield was playing everyone in center and left because, apparently, no one in our company softball league could hit the ball to the opposite field. I waited for an outside pitch, drove the ball down the first base line, and rounded the bases with ease at 375lbs.
My younger brother (who is 17 years younger than I am) challenged me to a game of Mortal Kombat. Little did he know, Mortal Kombat has been around 15 years before he was born. Just because he’s 7 doesn’t mean I held anything back.
I’m a classically/jazz trained pianist. I’ve been playing since I was 5 and have won state level competitions. I also played solo improv and in a combo ensemble at a local jazz lounge on weekend nights throughout high school. Needless to say, playing the piano is like second nature to me.
My freshman year in college, I was hanging out in the dining commons of my dorm. The dining commons had a mini grand in the corner that was occupied by a person.
My friends and I went up to him, and I politely asked if I could play for a bit after he was done. He looked us up and down and said, “I’m a music major, and I’m trying to practice.” in the snottiest tone possible).
Now, keep in mind, I was not a music major at the time, and I hadn’t played for a couple of months due to school, but I was still feeling confident in my abilities. A familiar feeling of competitiveness emerged from within me, and I asked him if I could take over the piano if I played a song of HIS choice after he was done. I told him any piece would work.
At this point, he was feeling confident that he was about to humiliate me. It was around 6 PM, so the dining common was full of fellow freshmen coming in for dinner.He looked at me and said, “Chopin Etude.” I asked him, “Which one?” He looked surprised that I even knew that much. I was praying he doesn’t choose the 5th out of the 24 which I couldn’t play. Thankfully, he chooses the 12th etude in op. 10 and started playing it. He was actually pretty good, but his note accuracy was shaky in the left hand and his tempo wasn’t quite up to speed. After banging out the last notes, he pushed his chair back and told me that it was my turn.
I swear I wasn’t even warmed up, but what I proceeded to play was the best play through of that piece in my life. The left hand was clean, and my tempo was noticeably faster than his and more constant.
His face turned red when I finished, and he told me that I was pretty good. He started to walk away, but I stopped him and asked for his name. He told me it and then started to apologize. I told him that it was fine and asked him what floor he lived on. We actually ended up becoming pretty good friends and talked from time to time that year. He ended up transferring to a music school, though, after his second year.
My physical education teacher challenged me to a match of table tennis in front of the entire class. However, we needed some supplies to play the game, so we had to delay it for a bit.
He later saw me actually playing during a a countrywide championship we had between schools and, thereafter, he preemptively surrendered.
I wasn’t even that good, but I practiced and loved the sport for years and years. He was a moron whose entire coaching consisted of saying, “You got to spin the ball.” So yeah, he was quick to leave.
I grew up in Minnesota. I spent a lot of time camping and was a forest ranger for a summer. Suffice to say, I’m pretty proficient with an ax and a crosscut saw. I moved out east where most of the people had never touched an ax before. We were having a large BBQ at one of our work events, and it required some wood to be split for a bonfire and cooking purposes. I went out back to take care of business. In the process of doing so, people started coming out to watch me chop. It was like they were seeing something only people in the movies could do. Plus, I was making it look easy. Soon enough, others wanted to give it a try as well. After a few swings and near misses, I had to take the ax away.
I was on a second or third date, and we were going out bowling. As we were parking, she started trashing talk about how good she was and how she was going to kick my butt. I didn’t say anything and just opened my trunk and pulled out my bowling ball and shoes. The trash talking stopped mid-sentence and she just looked at me and said, “I’m going to regret everything I just said, right?” She did.
This guy was showing off at a party by playing chess and beating everyone. My husband told him to play a game against me and he was all smug about it, “I’ll go easy on you, honey.” Little did he know, I was on my varsity high school chess team. Yes, I was an awkward nerd. Let’s just say I completely wiped the floor with him. However, he started saying how he was “going easy” on me. We played again, and I wiped the floor with him again. Then he started saying how he was better with black. Again, I wiped the floor with him. Guess what he did next? He threw the chess board on the floor and drunkenly complained that I was cheating.
I was on holiday with my family when I was about 12. We were at a resort with a Kids Club. I was hanging out with these three other guys. Two of them were older, more developed, and quite sporty guys. The other kid, who was my age, was an obnoxious little brat. We decided to play a game of tennis (doubles). The two older kids wanted to play together. The obnoxious kid had a tantrum because he didn’t want me as his partner. I was small, skinny, and not very sporty looking at all, but I’d played competitive tennis for years. He didn’t have much to say when I basically carried him through the entire match.
During a three-person interview, I fielded the technical questions well and answered all of them. It was for my first job in IT as a service desk technician. Finally, at the end of the interview, the engineer flippantly asked me a question about artillery and fall of shot. He clearly did not read that part of my resume which showed my service in the US Navy involving shooting artillery.
I looked at him and asked if I could have a range table and some scratch paper and a pencil, and I could get him in the ballpark. The brief look of utter confusion and then the loud laughter from the other two interviewers came as a real surprise to me as I thought he was just testing my resume credentials.
After 20 seconds of confusion (involving everyone), the main interviewer explained that it was just supposed to be a wild question to throw me off and to inject a little humor. I looked at my questioner again while maintaining a serious face and asked again, “Well, can I have my range table and scratch paper or not?”
I got the job.
The year after we graduated from high school, my best friend and I (both 18 at the time) used to go play pool at a busy pool hall in the city.
The rules was simple. If you controlled a pool table, you had to play all of the challengers. Challengers had to pay for the game (and usually bought a round of beer for everyone), and if they won, they got to control the table. Once you controlled the table, you got free games until another challenger beat you.
Guys would come down there and look around for the easiest table to take over.
We looked young, dumb, and fresh out of school which is exactly what we were. However, what they also didn’t know was that we had just spent 5 years attending a boarding school with a pool table and basically nothing else to do except for watch TV. So, we had both played pool pretty much every single night for years. We were total sharks. It was hilarious seeing how surprised they were.
I’m a bass player and am almost finished my degree in music. I have a lot of experience, and I know what Im doing. However, Im young, therefore, I dont always look like it. Often times, especially in the music stores around my area, the salesmen will just assume you suck and treat you terribly.
I was in a store once checking out the really nice and expensive basses when I asked the sales guy if I could play one of them. He gave me this condescending look and made some sheepish excuse as to why not- basically alluding to the fact that I wouldn’t know how to take care of it or something like that.
Shortly after an incredibly difficult jazz fusion song that I had been slaving over learning for months came on over their speaker system. I asked him if I could play a cheaper bass and he agreed. Anyway, I played along to this track, didnt miss a beat, and the guy kind of just stopped and stared the whole time. Afterward, he said I could try out the expensive basses and had a whole different demeanor towards me.
I’m pretty good at chopping wood. My dad used to make me chop an unholy amount of wood growing up. I was at an acquaintance’s house once, and he happened to mention how he had a pile of logs that needed to be cut and split.
This guy was huge, from Idaho, and a firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management. He also said that he was good at chopping wood, so we ended up trying to see who could chop more. We ended up splitting wood for almost 5 hours. Our piles were massive. We couldn’t figure out who had actually chopped more, but I honestly didn’t even care anymore because it was one of the only times I’ve ever gotten to show off my skills. Not to mention, I came out pretty even against a true beast of a man.
My old calculus teacher challenged me to a chess game. Little did she know, I’m an IM in chess (2430) and rarely lose a game. It ended with me mating her in twenty-one after a Kings Gambit (a chess opening) from myself. We had a wager on it where if she had won then I would never miss another homework assignment again, but if I won then I would never have to do another homework assignment.
At a range with iron sights, I had some really cocky guy challenge me to a shooting contest.
I was out there with this new radical that had iron sights placed on it, and my buddy wanted me to get the sights correct, make sure it shot straight, and pretty much just double-check that everything was alright. So, I was putting it through its paces at the 100, 200, and 300 yard range targets, and it was consistent about an inch of spread for each 100 yards, which is not great, but it wasn’t terrible either for the day.
I’m sitting there when this guy comes up, who I’ve never seen at this range before, and he wants to have a small shooting contest at the 500s. He has this nice Daniel’s 10x scope floating barrel, and I’m like, “Are you joking?” His set up was probably about $2000+ while the one I was using might’ve been around $500.
He was like, “No no no, not at all. Heck, who ever wins can buy the other lunch.” I went ahead and asked him how long he had been shooting for, and how long he’d had that rifle. He’d been shooting for 2 years and had that rifle for 6 months. So, I accepted his bet.
At the range, the temperature was about 90 degrees in 80+% humidity, 6mph from 278, and the pressure was around 30.5 hg, and it wasn’t even 11 AM yet.
We agreed on 5 shots each counting with 3 shots for calibrating, the 5 closest to the center would be counted. I took my 8 shots and came out with 49/50 points, and his 8 shots got him 32/50. At this point, I had to ask him where in the world was he normally shooting at.
His answer, Florida. At an indoor gun range where the targets had small objects on them to calculate the “distance.” He had no idea about the differences that the conditions outside made. He did keep his word, though, and I got a free lunch. I pulled out my range logs, did some nice math for him, and taught him while we ate.
I’ve played golf since I was 8. These days, I’m a 2-handicap. All this means is that I shoot 2 strokes over Par during an average round, Par being what a pro golfer would shoot on a given course, and that’s with playing maybe 10 times a year. So, I’d like to think I’m still pretty good. I’m also not what most people would think of when they think of “golf.” I’m a short nerd with a bunch of tattoos and a casual demeanor.
My dad’s the one who got me into golf, and he plays in an evening league. It’s nothing really serious. You go out, pay $20, and play like 9-holes after work on Thursdays. They keep point totals throughout the summer for each team. We play “match play” which means whoever wins on a certain hole gets 1 point. Tie and each player gets half a point. At the end of the round, the winner is the player with the most points. I’ve played in this league since I was 15, when I was on my school’s golf team, and nearly everyone there knows me and I know them. It’s a fun group of guys getting sloshed and playing golf after work. Nobody takes it too seriously.
One night, we’re out playing near the beginning of the season when this new team joins. One of the guys on the other team seems cool, but the other one is a cocky d-bag.
He’s wearing a complete golf outfit while everyone else is in jeans and a t-shirt (there’s no dress code required for the afterwork league). We pair off, and he wants to play me. While we’re waiting, I overhear him talking to his partner about how he’s going to make some easy points against this kid blah blah blah. I was around 24 at the time. He comes up and says, “Well, let’s see if you can keep up.” Okay, sure.
We start off and it’s going well for me. I win the first 2 holes no problem, and I can already tell that he’s getting upset. In golf, your biggest enemy is always yourself. You might play against other people, but ultimately only you can affect your game. Nobody else can make you hit a terrible shot, and there are no teammates to place the blame on. It’s one of the major problems that people have when learning golf. You have to just let bad shots go, or they’ll drag you down and make you do terribly. If you have anger issues, golf can be extremely challenging. This is not something that I do often, but if you’re subtle, you can easily poke and prod people like this guy into a fit of rage with some simple little comments. I’ve done it during tournaments before and had great success.
On the third tee, I hit my drive and it fades a bit right, along the tree line, but it’s nothing I haven’t hit out of before. This guy goes, “Just a bit right!”
He gets up, swings, and duffs his shot into the pond to the front left side of the tee box. I go, “Dang, just a little short?” Cue a look of pure rage form this guy. He starts losing his mind. I mean I can see the veins bulging at his temple. He hits another shot, and this one turns out alright. I win the hole as expected.
All through the round, this guy keeps getting in his own head, hitting bad shots when all he has to do is take a moment, relax, and trust his swing. I don’t really say anything because once someone’s in their own head your work is done. I wind up winning the first 8 holes.
On the last hole, he has a 15 foot putt to beat me but misses it by about 2 feet. Normally, if this guy had been cool, I would have just told him to pick the ball up and take the tie. But… screw him. This is supposed to be a fun afterwork league made up of friends. He needed to learn some humility, so I make him putt it. He lips it out and misses. I win 9-0.
His face goes fire engine red. He walks to his bag and starts hitting it repeatedly with his putter before bending it over his knee and throwing it into a nearby pond. He was nearly crying because he was so angry. It was just a melt down of epic proportions. I laughed and said to his partner, “Man, your friend sure does like to win? Tough break.” He just shrugs in embarrassment.
After the round, this guy shows up to turn in his scorecard and basically gets ribbed by just about everyone who heard what the final score was. He has a total meltdown and yells in the faces of a couple of people. The people running the golf course come out and tell him to leave and never come back and that his team should find a replacement because he’s banned. He storms off, gets in his giant truck, and speeds off. Never to be heard from again.
Posts are edited for clarity.