Compete. It’s a word that you hear more and more out of the mouths of coaches, athletes, and even announcers. The word calls up an image of two individuals or teams battling back and forth, doing everything within their power to come out on top. When the dust settles, there is one winner and one loser. One has “out-competed” the other.
But the true roots of the word, compete, contain a contrast that is subtle yet profound. The word we know as “compete” comes from the Latin word competere, which means “to strive with”. To strive WITH. This definition brings to mind a very different image - two adversaries pushing each other, still striving for a lofty goal but not necessarily at the expense of the other.
Don’t misunderstand me - I’m not making the case that competition should be divorced from results, or from the desire to win. My point is that competition is at its finest when it is bringing out the best in both (or all ) competitors. Anyone who has played or coached at a high level knows intuitively that a challenging opponent is much more likely to bring out your best performance than an overmatched foe. There is something inside each of us that can only be drawn out in the heat of truly challenging competition.Read More