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    Healthy Competition

    Fourth grade gym class. The two best athletes in the class were picking their team members. I stood with excellent posture. Although I was klutzy, uncoordinated and absolutely terrible at any sport or exercise, I knew better than to slouch. Appear confident. I thought to myself. Wipe that desperate look off your face! I coached myself internally. Please god, don’t make me be the last one picked again.


    I am ambitious, determined and committed. I like to win.  I push myself to work hard and do my absolute best.

    However, I am not competitive.  I’m really not.

    This may be because I never really had an opportunity to be competitive in competitive sports. Unless you are born with a competitive nature, it seems that most individuals first start feeling competitive when playing competitive sports. Growing up, I didn’t participate in any extracurricular sports, and when I did play in gym class, I was so bad at sports, that it would be ridiculous if I even tried to compete.

    Anyone could beat me at any sport. Hands down. Anyone. I have a vivid recollection of myself standing in the outfield during a gym class baseball game, and a classmate in crutches played better than me. Pull it together! I thought to myself as I desperately tried to catch the ball. You get 100% on every Spelling Test you’ve ever taken. Clearly you can catch a ball! I’d think to myself as I ran after the ball, but never caught it in time.  Come on, you’re better than that. Please, just catch one ball. I could feel all eyes on me. Uh oh.  Forget the ball. Just. Appear. Confident.

    In kindergarten, I couldn’t skip.   My gym teacher assured my parents that I was trying my hardest and eventually I’d “get a feel for it.” I was mortified. As the gym class warmed up for sports by galloping, running, jumping jacking, and skipping, I’d try my best to skip gracefully telling myself You can figure it out. If the gym teacher says you’ll get a feel for it, you will. Just be patient. And whatever you do, appear confident.

    Although I did eventually learn to skip, it was less than satisfying when my gym teacher sent me home with an enthusiastic and proud note to my parents telling them I had finally successfully skipped.

    In second grade.

    Last week, I tried Soul Cycle spinning. For the first time, I felt really good about an activity that requires agility and coordination.  Looking around at my seasoned classmates, I watched them cycle at an incredible pace, all while doing pushups, crunches and squats in perfect form. They were in rhythm as they harmoniously and what looked effortlessly followed the instructor’s moves. As I looked around the room, I spun faster and faster. Not because I was attempting to compete with them. I’m smarter than that. But because their form motivated me to do my personal best. So maybe that does make me competitive. Competitive against myself. Not others.

    As I walked out of the spinning class, I felt rejuvenated. Although I was definitely the worst in the class, I had won.  I set out to do something I was scared to try, and I did it. It didn’t matter where I stood compared to my classmates, because I had spun well- at least for me.

    I didn’t even need to appear confident. I was.

    I gotta admit though, there are times I do feel a competitive streak, and it’s during one game. Online scrabble. Maybe it’s because I actually can afford to be competitive.   It could be because this is the only time, I actually do win the game.  Who knows. I do know one thing. At at the end of the day, I’m not competitive during word games, because I think I’m smarter than my opponent or because I want to beat my opponent. It’s because I know I am capable of winning… by a landslide. It’s for myself. And let’s face it, who needs to waste competitiveness on an opponent when it can be applied to your own improvement.

    And to be frank,  whether it’s a word game, a sport, or learning how to skip two years behind everyone else, because I have a coach like myself, I’ll  always “win”.

    Ok, so maybe I’m a bit competitive. Maybe one day I will exert it towards an opponent. Meanwhile, until then, I’ll appear confident.

    3 Responses to “Healthy Competition”

    1. dad says:

      maybe that’s why, when u had to take gym in high school, you would skip

    2. Mom says:

      Loved this….

    3. brooke says:

      that was the only class i didn’t skip

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