Friday, March 19, 2010

Competition Day

Tomorrow is competition day.  The kids I volunteer with have worked for months to be ready for their first tournament.  They have brainstormed, they have pondered and they have prepared.  Then they designed, they built and they rebuilt. They have toiled and sweated.  They have worked until exhaustion, and sometimes worked past exhaustion.

They are ready.  They are eager and they will do great...even if they don't win.

In today's world competition is everywhere.  Sometimes we see it in sports, sometimes in the classroom.  We see competition in advertisements and in the job market.  Everywhere we look there is someone trying to be better than someone else so they may claim an award, an honor or maybe just a paycheck.

When we teach our children about the world it is important they understand what competition is and what it is about.  It is also important that they understand it really doesn't matter.

I am sure some of you will disagree, but I have never met a 90 year old person who says, "If we had just won that football game..." or "If I had just been a litter prettier..." or "If I had just won that award..."  Those aren't the things that define us, well I don't think they should be anyway.

Competition helps us know where we are personally.  We are either doing better than we did before or we aren't.  I heard an athlete at the recent Olympics who said that they had done the best they had ever done and even if they didn't win gold they knew they did the very best they could, and had no regrets.  What an attitude.  I don't know anyone who makes it to the Olympics and doesn't want to win.  The question is the definition of "win."

My kids are heading off to demonstrate their talents, their abilities and their solution to a problem.  They will do everything they can to pull off an amazing presentation.  And then they will be scored.  They may like the score, they may hate it, but they will have earned it.

When the ribbons and trophies have been handed out and the crowd has gone home these kids will know they brought their best game to the table, they accomplished what they came to do, and they earned their victory.  As a coach I hope they bring home a tall trophy.  As their mentor I hope they bring home a lesson to last a lifetime.

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