It’s hard to beat a person that never gives up.

– Babe Ruth

I have always thought of competition as a good thing. Growing up, having someone compete with you in a sport, school or just for fun usually made you work harder. If it’s in a sport, you train and practice to overtake whoever is ahead of you. In academics, you are competing for a better college or program. When you compete for fun, it usually is a childhood bet like “Bet I can eat more marshmallows than you,” or “race you to the top of the hill.”

  Now in my 30s, the competition is usually at work. There you compete with a multitude of things: other businesses, time, co-workers, your past successes, etc. But this week has brought back a little bit of the competitive fire from my youth.

Working out on Monday, my lifting partner Joe and I took on the bench press. I’ve made steady gains since the beginning of the year, but after my vacation I have been trying to get back to my original standard. This has forced me to change my routine to overcome a plateau.

So, I sat down and did a few sets finishing with four plus two reps of 275 pounds. Still not back to 4×290, but getting there.

Joe, on the other hand, sat down at the bench and proceeded to put up five plus one reps of 315 pounds. Wow! I need to be hitting harder in the gym.

I left the weight room that evening and proceeded to bowl in our league’s championship. I opened the game with a 237, but quickly fell off from there. Luckily, our final bowler struck in the 10th frame to give us a one pin victory. Wow! I need to practice on the lanes.

Wednesday morning, I played my usual pickup games of basketball. Although I played pretty decent defense, my shot went from deceptively lethal to “Let him shoot, it probably has a 1 in 10 chance of going in.” I took several shots from behind the 3-point line but all shots rimmed out. Wow! I need to get back to practicing my shot.

All these things have made me look at my complacency in these three areas. Although I make sure to work out four or more times a week, I am determined to find the right program to increase all my lifts. With bowling and basketball, I need to incorporate some time to improve.

This is why I have always enjoyed competition. It is a way to test yourself against your peers and see what you are good at or can improve on.

Some people are self-motivators and other people need a push. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I can only push myself so far, but after watching someone else do it or better, it creates a challenge that I want to complete.

So, here is to those that still compete and avoid complacency.

Zach Stich is the Managing Editor of The Fergus Falls Daily Journal. His column appears Thursday.


Enter your email address and select the newsletters you would like to receive.

Load comments