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Iíll admit that Iím a very competitive person by nature. Whether Iím playing a game of Monopoly, video baseball, trivia or an actual sport, I want to win with every ounce of being that is within me.

I took a communication conflict class at the University of Tennessee and the professor told me I was the most competitive student he had ever had in the class. Of course, that was a few years before a certain quarterback by the name of Peyton Manning took the class.

I donít want this to come out the wrong way, but Iíve always held the belief that if you show me a good loser, Iíll show you a loser every time. Thatís not to say I donít believe in accepting defeat as graciously as possible and showing good sportsmanship. However, I think, there is a difference between being a good sport and a good loser.

A good sport congratulates their opponent, but the bitterness of the loss sticks with them for a while as they strive to get better. A good loser blows off a loss as part of life and finds their sense of happiness in just playing the game.

I guess thereís nothing wrong with perspective if you like losing, but I donít like losing.

Every Thursday morning I canít wait to open the Daily News sports section to see how Iím doing on the Panel of Experts football picks section. I enjoy seeing my name at or near the front of the pack.

Sometime my desire to win the weekly picks will lead me to choose the team I think will win over the team I want to win. Most people know that I never want the University of Tennessee or Gulf Breeze High School to lose. I hate picking against the schools I attended and still hold dear, but when it comes to winning or losing Iím going to pick the team I think will win.

I know my picking against Crestview or Baker doesnít always sit well with local players and fans, but itís nothing personal I just want to win.

When making the picks I try to throw out the emotional angle and look at the straight hard facts. If a coach tells me off the record that a key a player is injured Iíll keep that information to myself, but it will influence my picking process.

I try to find out as much as I can about teams from outside the area when Iím picking a game involving a school from another state or another part of Florida. Itís not always easy, but I do want to win and will look at every side of things in deciding who might win.

Yes, a fire that burns deep inside me hates losing, even when it comes to football panels.