The Scoop: True Competition

“Be grateful for your competitors for they force you to become the person you are capable of being.” – Stacey Alcorn

I love competition. However, I dislike what the definition of competition has become to many. The element of going against each other in a battle for victory still exists, but the new element of hatred for an opponent is an added dimension.

Competition is supposed to bring out the best in each other. It is two opponents who raise the level of ability that it takes for one of those opponents to emerge victorious. Without true competitors, we are unable to reach our true potential. That competitor could be an opponent, a teammate, or another individual who raises the bar for us physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.

Most competition today has become a contest to determine whether one is better than the other. Fans use it to say I hate this team, this conference or this individual. Media does its best to compare teams or players or coaches, and pit them against one another. We have created a culture where someone has to be declared a winner, but more than that, someone has to be deemed better.

True competition demands more from us. It demands that we become the best we can be. But, because others are competing to defeat us, it requires us to bring out our best. It demands that we rise to the occasion, step up to the plate, and bring our best. True competition makes us better, and makes those around us better.

Then, at the end of the day, true competitors shake hands and congratulate one another for a job well done. They offer a thank you for causing them to bring their best or raise the bar on their level of play. Win or lose, a true competitor is grateful to the opponent for the opportunity to make him better. There are no insults, no jokes, no ill-spirited words, only compliments, praise, and gratitude.

I remember the pitchers who made it hard for me. They made me work for each ounce of success that I may have received from them. They made me think harder, prepare better, and be better. While they may have gotten my number more than I got theirs, I am grateful for them. They helped formulate my approaches and dictate my at-bats against all other pitchers. The effort I put in to have success against the tough competitive pitchers only made me more successful against the others.

I get so frustrated when fans make competition something beyond what it should be. It becomes negative, hateful, and nasty. That is not competition. Certainly, between teams in the heat of the moment, tempers will flair. However, after the game, the players share a mutual respect. Sure, someone is upset that they lost, but respect and admiration is shown for the competition from each team.

We all have competitors. It could be work, it could be family, it could be sports. These people force you to be creative, to be smarter, to be better. It is time we stop begrudging them, and start thanking them. Without them, we could never possibly rise to the level of our best each day.

Work hard. Compete for the right reasons. Say thanks, and be grateful. You will find you will learn something from everyone.

Bring your best today!

Love, Noah

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