There’s Just Something About Competition

I’ve loved to compete my whole life.

It didn’t matter what it was – sports, academics, who could hold their breath the longest.

I wasn’t good at most sports, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the thrill of competition, whether it was against another team or against myself.

These days, most of my competition is accomplished vicariously by watching sports on TV.

And I really don’t care what the sport is. If someone is competing, I want to watch it.

Usually, I understand what is going on, since I tend to watch sports I am familiar with – baseball, football, and basketball.

Other sports, like hockey or soccer, I don’t know all the rules, but I get the gist of what is going on.

But that’s not always the case, and tonight was a prime example.

My son and I went out to watch a rugby match between England and Ireland. Beyond figuring out that the goal is to get the ball across the goal line, I had no idea what was going on most of the time.

But that didn’t keep me from getting caught up in the excitement of the game, and cheering for the Irish lads (they lost 🙁 )

(I also came to the conclusion that rugby players are among the toughest, and craziest, athletes I have watched.)

I think part of my love of sports is that they are not scripted, and anything can happen at any time. I also appreciate all the hard work that the athletes put into getting ready for the game.

I also think there are a lot of good life lessons that come out of competition – the importance of preparation, teamwork, how to be a good winner and a good loser, how to set goals, how to play fairly, and many others.

And when it comes to events like the Olympics, it’s a great chance to rally around your country and show some national pride.

So congrats to England on their victory tonight. I think before I watch another rugby match I should read up a bit on the finer points of the game.

P.S. I’ve also watched a cricket match, and I was even more confused. I had no idea what the goal of the game was, or how teams were scoring points. But I still couldn’t stop watching…

25 thoughts on “There’s Just Something About Competition

  1. I’m with you, Jim. I’ve always said that sports are the greatest reality show invented. Goliath defeats David more often than not, but the beauty of sports is one can never know for sure. I read recently that it’s been forty years since the United States defeated Russia in the Olympics. (Are we really that old?) Competition, as you point out, is the key element. I may not know that many of the Jeopardy questions, but that doesn’t prevent me from watching.

  2. I can’t help you with cricket, but I readily agree that rugby players are as tough as they come. I, like you, also enjoy any well matched competition. The shared struggle of competing, win or lose, builds character. Even spectating engages us in the shared emotional struggle, the joy of victory, and the agony of defeat. It can hold all the emotions of a Shakespearean play and be easier to understand, even when you don’t know all the rules.

    1. Well said; one of your lines reminds me of the opening lines from ABC’s Wide World of Sports – one of my all-time favorite shows: “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.

      Side note – I’m embarrassed to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Shakespeare play, or at least I can’t remember having done so. I couldn’t tell you one single difference between Macbeth or Hamlet. I’m currently reading Pride and Prejudice since a few people have said it is their all time favorite book; maybe after that I’ll read a Shakespeare play or two. Any recommendations?

      1. Pride and Prejudice is a great book. I am sure you will be glad you took the time. As for Shakespeare, my favorites are:
        Comedy – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
        History – Henry VIII
        Tragedy – Romeo and Juliet

        But you can’t make a bad choice! When are you guys coming home?

  3. Cricket stumbles me, too. Aussie Rules Football ups the crazy factor from Rugby, if you’ve never seen it. And if you like wide open, pass-first, 3-down Football, catch the Canadian Football League play. Also, Rollerball (with James Caan) is what sparked a lifelong obsession with 1970s Roller Derby. Also, Raquel Welch.

    1. Now I really want to want an Aussie Rules Football game! And I do like the wide open nature of the CFL. I vaguely remember Rollerball, probably because of Raquel…

    1. well it looks like baseball may be getting rid of umps in the not too distant future, at least for calling balls and strikes. And I am fine with that. I guess the fans will have to learn how to boo a computer…

  4. The only thing I know about cricket is that it’s an annoying little insect that I don’t like having indoors. Okay, I’m terrible. Have a great day!😃😺☕☕

  5. I have no idea about the rules of the game for many sports. I get excited seeing the fans who are so passionate about their teams. I have just finally understand the rules for football, so I love the game now. So I would say once you under stand the game, it makes the competition of the game even better

    1. I agree, it does help one enjoy watching a game even more if you know what is going on. But even when I’m not quite sure what’s happening, it’s still fun to watch most sporting events.

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