I am an old school competitor.
I grew up playing sports from a very young age. I distinctly remember my first HR in baseball and the feeling I got when I rounded first base watching the ball travel over the hump at 11th and Pike playground in Reading, PA.
In basketball, baseball and soccer I made All-Star teams. I picked up FB later in my scholastic life and Rugby after college.
To me, competing against others was the ultimate rush.
The nerves you get before the first pitch, before the first hit, the first scrum or when I was standing in goal playing soccer and waiting for the ball to rocket at me I had to stop.
I don’t care what anyone says, you get nerves. In some way, you are nervous.
Competition is a privilege, not a right. There exists certain rules of competing that you should follow if you want to look yourself in the mirror with pride at the work you did.
1. No cheating
This is an obvious one but in the quest for glory and money a lot of competitors will skirt the rules to get an edge.
Drugs in a tested organization.
Using corked bats.
Illegal moves in gameplay meant to get an immediate edge, etc.
Cheating may never be caught but you won’t truly know if you win fair and square if you are one of them. Sure you may win at the time and attempt to justify your actions by thinking “well others do it, screw it”.
So what? Others aren’t you. You are responsible for your actions, not the other guy’s. If he cheats, that is on him and if he is caught he will have to pay the price.
If he is never caught, you know as well as I do those doubts will linger in his head saying to him “was I really the winner if I did it right?”
His insecurity in his own skills are what caused the cheating. Win or lose, do it with fair play.
2. Trying to hurt your opponent.
Hard play happens, people get hurt. To inflict intentional injury on someone is the lowest form of competition. Its not even worthy of saying “well I let my anger get the best of me”. Competitors need to control those emotions at all costs. Channel that fire into hard play and not dirty play. There isn’t any room on the field for people who try to hurt others.
The justice of that is eventually they will get theirs and they will know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the same thing they dish out.
3. Respect your teammates and coaches.
This applies to any sport; lifting, contact sports, individual sports, etc.
Oftentimes we are a part of a team of people going after team goals or individual goals. Your teammates are there to help you, support you in training, train with and against you to make you better, spot you, load your plates, pick you up after a play, and much more.
We are brothers, we are sisters. They are family. The worst one on the team is making you better whether you believe it or not. The best one on that team is pushing you to be a better athlete by their success.
The coaches want the unit to do well and they are giving their all to make that happen. Some play favorites and that can’t be denied, but they are still the coach.
Don’t talk about your teammates to others in a negative way, attend their competitions if you aren’t involved in the day’s events, cheer for them, help them, be a teammate and get everyone involved who is a part of the team.
This isn’t some rah rah shit, this is real life. A negative person on any team can bring a whole team down.
4. Win with class, lose with dignity.
You don’t have to rub victory in another’s face. You also don’t have to be a sore loser, you just weren’t the better team/athlete that day.
To be an asshole in victory is pure arrogance and you will fuel your competitor’s desire to knock you off your pedestal.
To be a sore loser makes you look bad and takes away from the lessons you could learn from not winning.
Each of us wins, each of us is going to lose. Humility in both and learning from both separates the best from the average.
There are many more examples but this is a basic list of what being a competitor with integrity is all about. If you don’t have class in competition, you eventually will get what is coming to you and people will applaud your fall.
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