Most of my childhood years were filled with many athletic events. If I wasn’t getting dirt stains from baseball, I got grass stains from football. If I didn’t get sweaty from those two, I surely did it in basketball. Sports was a great time for what Richard Rohr calls “building your tower.” It was a time for me to find my own personal significance through performance, through recognition of teammates, and success of winning. While it helped me build my tower, I also recognize the great perils that can come on behalf of competition. Competition does not really lend itself towards healthy spirituality. Anytime we feel the need to succeed, when we see things in the mindset of an us vs. them mentality, it moves us towards hostile relationships and the struggle to cope with failure. Good competition is never truly built on having a good time.
Competition never really allows us to die to ourselves. While it pushes to greater opportunities of advancement, it never teaches us when to give up, how to accept failure, and drawing the wisdom from learning how to let go. Competition only allows us to enjoy life in victory. No competitor would truly be a good one if they became completely content with loss. The mindset of competition doesn’t allow us to believe that we are enough, there is always something left to prove. The most free people I know are people who are very disciplined but okay with whatever happens. They can freely work and live without needing the results to validate them.