I don't really know what spurred this, but I feel like I need to talk about competitiveness. I hate it.
That's not to say I don't have a small competitive streak in me, but it's generally a need to beat myself, not everyone else.
I see competitiveness as arrogance, and I don't know why. If I loathe any one trait in another person, it's arrogance.
As a runner, the things I do and the events I enter are full of competitiveness. But I love a good self competitiveness. I want to beat my time, not yours.
A prime example is a few of my running partners. Not once - ever - have I secretly made it my goal to beat them. Mostly because they could all kick my ass. But even if it were a level playing field, I never look at the situation secretly and think, "You know what? I need to beat her. And I'll do it. Camaraderie is shit."
But I've seen that in people, and I find it disgusting.
A good running pal of mine recently ran a 3:57 marathon. Her FIRST marathon! That is AMAZING! Also my dream. So this is the perfect scenario to describe exactly what I hate to see:
"Wow. A 3:57. I am BETTER than her, I know I can run it faster. I will run a 3:56. Dammit."
Maybe I'm a naive moron, but I'm proud of her, not jealous. OK, maybe a wee jealous, but all in good fun. You know what I want to do? Run WITH her. I accept that she can smoke me, and instead, I'd see it as an opportunity to improve. I could finish in 3:59, two minutes slower than her, and be ecstatic.
Obviously this is my opinion. Flame my whining, call me a sore loser. I don't hate competitiveness because I suck. I hate the attitude of it because it kills camaraderie.
Besides, you know what? I ran a 4:11 marathon. Go out and run one faster than that, and then we'll talk. (OK, I realize a lot of you probably could, so perhaps make an appointment to talk so I can fit you all in).
To be somewhat fair, I see rivalry as a different sort of competitiveness. A rivalry is generally based on something deeper than your own need to feel special and win. So, please, go out and smoke the shit out of your rivals. Rivalry is one thing, trying to beat your friends, your allies, is another.
The difference between me and those who want to win is this: I don't do it to win, I do it because I can. Because it feels good. Because it's fun. Because I've met amazing people. Because I can compete with myself.
And beating myself feels much better than beating you. But that's because I'm not an asshole.
(Or maybe I'm a small asshole, but that's neither here nor there).