HUNT: Cooling down competition

011_HUNT_TREYCompeting is a key part of the Rockhurst lifestyle. I have only to walk into the gymnasium to see the pride Rockhurst takes in being the best, considering the numerous first place banners hanging from the walls. Admittedly, I have somewhat mixed feelings about competition.

Competition is everywhere in highschool; I see it in grades, sports and even art. Everyone wants to be better than everyone else. Only one person can be the best in something, and everyone else is just there.

I think competition can be a somewhat double-edged sword. While there is certainly fun in competition, I don’t know how I feel about a world in which my happiness from victory can only be gained by the sadness of another person, the loser.

Schadenfreude is a german word translating roughly to “happiness at the misfortune of others,” which I relate to how I feel after beating someone in something. And I have also felt, numerous times, the disappointment of losing at something.

There’s a kind of self-loathing I feel after losing, but then again, there is also the drive that kicks in a little while after, an excitement telling me to try harder next time, or to work on something more to be the best at something.

While competition can certainly be healthy, I think too much of it is detrimental to a person’s mental well-being. The need always to get good grades, or always to beat the other team, can often times be overpowering, and the despair of defeat can seem crushing, when in reality a loss isn’t such a big deal in the greater scope of things.

I’m not trying to justify laziness by saying that people should ease off and relax when it comes to competing. What I’m trying to get across is that maybe sometimes being better than someone at something isn’t as important as one would at first think.


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