It struck me recently that, even though they acknowledge the amount of effort, commitment and training that goes into competing, people really associate success with the trophy won.
Now, professional athletes compete…because they’re PAID. If they weren’t, they would have regular jobs like the rest of us. It may be me, but it doesn’t seem that the majority of professional athletes aren’t much of a success…only notorious.
College and high school competition is fun and helps promote community. The pride felt as the students representing your school…your town…test their skills against the neighboring team. I was a part of this and enjoyed it greatly. I got to know some very cool people that way…and some friends from the opposing teams when all was said and done. The unfortunate part comes from the focus on professional athletics and the lack of representing community. When high schools and colleges recruit players to bolster their team, is it from community pride or to attract big money? I guess I’m just old but I thought college athletes came straight from high school, not 3-4 years in “juniors” first.
Looking back, the main reason I competed in high school was to be part of the team. Something bigger than just me. I would bet that teammates grumbled under their breathe because I wasn’t the most skilled athlete…merely average, but I tried. We had successes and enjoyed the time. The past high school reunion still had stories from those days and games.
Outside of the organized competition, I did play a lot of games too. I played for the fun and truly didn’t care if I “won”. There were even times where I intentionally chose a struggling player as a partner. After telling them to make sure they had fun, we had our share of winning. Looking back, I can see that it provided at least two things – skills development and leadership.
Particularly in tennis, if my partner was struggling, I would try to make a few more shots but not be a ball hog. If we lost a point, so be it. Prompting my partner to proactively work on their skills allowed us to be a better team. Encouragement and some friendly “try this” to support them turned many matches around.
In the end, looking back on all these years, I competed to test my skills in a variety of situations, encourage others to become better, develop a “coaching” skill. All this shines very strongly on the horizon as myself and several students prepare for an international competition and promotion testing in the next couple of weeks.
Why did/do you compete?
Author: Master Robert Frankovich
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