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Competition is good, and no–everyone should not get to win.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

November
23
2011
"OK, now let some of the others have a turn in the lead!"

"OK, now let some of the others have a turn in the lead!"

This morning I was reading the December 2011 issue of Bike Magazine, and an article titled “7 Reasons Why Racing will Always Remain Relevant” penned by Vernon Felton really struck a chord with me. I thought the brief article was good, but point number two touched upon something that I feel strongly about:

“Racing is honest. We live in a Tee Ball-playing, everyone-wins culture which, let’s be candid, is a load of crap. Walk into a Walmart sometime and then tell me that everyone’s a winner. Racing, by contrast, is absolutely honest. One man or woman will cross the line victorious.”

Damn right.

When I was a kid I played all kinds of sports: baseball, basketball, sandlot football… but swimming was my true passion. I trained very hard: two grueling daily practices five times per week and another one on Saturday morning. Between swim practice, weight training, other dry land exercises and swim meets I spent about 20 hours every week becoming the best swimmer I could be. I also went to school full-time and in the summers earned my own money cleaning pools, teaching disabled kids how to swim and working as a lifeguard.

I believe that all those things helped shape the person I am today, but experiencing real competition is unquestionably at the top of the list. Knowing what it feels like to work your butt off and not always win is an important life lesson. So is returning to practice the Monday after a loss more determined than ever. When someone emerges victorious it should be because he or she gave everything they had and never gave up, and not because someone decided in advance that everyone gets to win.

In life there are winners and there are losers, and that is never going to change. The problem these days is that many kids are growing up having never experienced true competition. They don’t know what it’s like to come back from a difficult loss, they’ve never experienced the thrill of a hard-earned victory and they have no idea what it means to sacrifice in pursuit of a goal.

When these sheltered kids get out in the real world they are ill-prepared to deal with the harsh realities of the world we live in. It seems obvious to me that we’re already seeing the unfortunate results of this wussification.

Anyway, kudos to Mr. Felton for saying something that needs to be said far more often.

On another subject, you guys are not going to believe the AtLarge Nutrition sale that is kicking off today: 20% off your entire order, plus if you spend over $35 (product total) you will also select a FREE product! Check out the details here.

John Stone Fitness Comments

5 Responses to “Competition is good, and no–everyone should not get to win.”
  1. John, as a basketball coach I can’t agree MORE with your update this morning!!! As a matter of fact, with your permission, I’d like to copy this and hand it out to my players. Of COURSE, I’ll delete the word “damn” LOL! Good stuff my man, good stuff! It is amazing how many of these kids are babied left and right and I just get so tired of it. My Momma always told me, “If you can’t play, you gotta pay”!

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  2. And here’s one parent who’s not bowing down to the PC crowd either. My wife and I have this discussion all the time about how we want to raise our sons.

    In addition to racing being honest, so are the combat sports. This is one reason why I’m a huge MMA fan. Two men (or women), one winner, no exceptions.

    Furthermore, as a teacher, it sickens me how many kids get “labeled” and have “accommodations”. There are legitimate times when certain kids need the playing field labeled due to a disability of some sort, but as a culture we are grossly over and misdiagnosing a vast number of kids. It’s sad really, I feel bad for them.

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