Decades ago in an unnamed private school bathroom a group of grade school boys gathered. There was an underground tournament. I happened upon it on my way to the boy’s bathroom. Three of my peers were testing how far they could get from the john and still make the stream reach without missing the urinal. It was hysterical, partially because one of my peers showed a reckless disregard for his target the other reason was the sheer magnitude of distance another friend was making.
Regardless of this boy’s room fiasco there is a complexity to the scenario of competition, more specifically of all healthy competition. All competitions create a type of escalation. In society we see it in smart phones, politics, art, and life in general. In a lot of ways there is a cooperative competition much like powerlifting is a cooperative competition or cross fit is a cooperative competition. People gather to see who can best the other. This chronic one-upmanship is what makes sport interesting, but also what sustains a competition and builds people’s desire to compete.
Often time’s once our glory years are behind us it is hard to maintain our competitive zeal though I think our best efforts come from when we are competing and when there is a deadline. If anything competition can tell you a lot about who you are as a person, but also it can help you become more than you though you could be, or at least get you closer. I’m writing this to encourage people to compete, to compete in running, lifting, or even craft beer making what matters is your mastery of your art.
As a coach sometimes I once half-jokingly told an athlete that competing is a lot like breathing. You really can’t feel alive unless you are. I find there is some truth to that idea. It is a lot like Shakespeare’s quote “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Though I look at it as better to have tried, and failed than never to have tried at all.
There are many types of competitors and a myriad of fields to compete in. In weightlifting though I think if you have never left some skin or blood on the bar you never really lifted. Taking risk is all part of competing if you never expose yourself to some risk maybe you should start. Separate yourself from the spectator, and the critic, participate.