Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Thrill Of Competition

Everyone is a winner

Competition is human nature. Even before our birth we competed along with other sperms to get first place into our mother’s ovary. So we all won a great competition even prior to our birth. Everyone is a winner. However, as we grow older, we become insecure, we lose that confidence. Competition is one of the best ways to identify the talent, innovation and growth within us. Everything is in the mind and that assumptions, biases, and fear can cloud the mind from everyone’s true potential. We get caught up in “WINNING” or beating our opponent; when in reality “we” are our most fearsome competitor .Winning means overpowering someone else. If “we” don’t win, “we” are a loser.

Competition can lead not to dangerous action. Tonya Harding can no longer participate in any event sanctioned by the USFSA after admitting that she was aware of the plot to disable skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. She has denied being part of the plot. However, her ex-husband vehemently accounted that Tonya, his ex-wife was deeply involved in the conspiracy to injure the skater. Her actions as they related to the assault on Nancy Kerrigan show a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior. When it was all over, the USFSA strips Tonya Harding of her 1994 national championship and bans her from the organization for life. As a result, she will never be unable to participate in any amateur, pro-am or professional events sanctioned by the USFSA. She also will never be allowed to become a sanctioned coach. Now one would ask “Was this necessary for someone as talented as Tonya to allow greed to get the better of her as to go as far as inflicting harm on someone else just for the sake of “winning?”

Most people play a sport for the thrill of having fun with others who share the same interest. The effects of competition permeate the sport and every part of life. There can be tons of pressure in sports. A lot of the time it comes from the feeling that a parent or coach or fans expect you to always win or the worst thing of all low self esteem when it comes from inside. The pressure to win can sometimes stress you to the point where you just don't know how to have fun anymore. Perhaps it could even be the reason why you haven't been yourself.

Surya Bonaly is known for her backflip and is considered the only skater in the world capable of this move. Bonaly can be just defiant as she is famous. Her saucy attitude during number of competitions that did not go her way reveal the reaction of one being too caught up in the “thrill of competition.” This attitude was on display during the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships in Chiba, Japan. Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul and Lu Chen out of the competition, it was an open field for the championship. Bonaly skated a clean performance however, but the judges did not feel that way. The prize went to home country favorite Yuka Sato . They feel that she skated a better program. Bonaly felt she was robbed and defiantly stood aside the medals’ platform rather than on it.

Although she was coaxed into standing on the platform, Bonaly took off her silver medal after it was presented to her. The crowd did not appreciate her behavior, feeling that she was not showing good sportsmanship and was immediately booed. After the medal’s presentation it was obvious to reporters she was upset. According to Bonaly she was robbed of gold in 1993 as well, as she thought she should have beaten Oksana Baiul at that particular World Championship competition. Baiul narrowly won the world title. She was outjumped and outspun by Bonaly but had received higher artistic impression scores.

I was part of a platform in which anyone can put in their thoughts to questions asked, and as a result, your answers automatically earn points eventually they get voted best or the person who poses it declares which answer is best. The best answers receive a total of ten points. The platform being mentioned, I find, creates an internal contest. It was noticed answers that were answered correctly, and received votes were deleted for reasons that were not related to the cause. Upon careful perusal the conclusion was made that as points are accumulated, there is an ascending method; eventually the one with the most points ends up on a “pedestal” as the person with the most knowledge.

While some of the participants were just happy to share their knowledge, apparently, others had different objectives. By focusing on results, the objective became more with the ends–which are earning points than having fun in helping others and the sharing of knowledge.

Self esteem can play a big role on how we compete. Competition is a time in which we are testing your abilities and not our peers, and our friends’ opinions should no matter as much; however how we feel about your performance should have the greatest impact on the outcome. Competition is the core concept around which we thrive, and our securities or lack of it is built. While competition is good for self and self discipline, for adrenaline, for country, when the wrong technique is being use to achieve is when one should stop and have a self evaluation as to why “ I am really doing this” Once “we” get too caught up in competing outside of ourselves, wether it is academic or in sports that is when we will fail, for we cannot control our opponents.
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