Friday, April 8, 2011

In the Company of Competition

So far, this meet has  influenced me to think a lot about the nature of COMPETITION. I am learning as the events are swum that my idea of competition may be far different from many, many others'.

To me, competition is about being the best that YOU can be. It is about preparing and finding your own way into the "zone". Competition is developed through a pure motivation that involves YOU, and YOU alone. There is no sense of desiring to beat anyone. As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as anyone else.

This is what I have always felt about competition.

But being here, at this Nationals meet, I am surrounded by many people who are not only very interested in MY swimming, but are well educated on my status as well. It is strange to be focusing on your next race, mentally preparing your brain to do the work that your body knows, only to get interrupted in the distance by a coach explaining to her swimmer how I swim that event. It is also strange to see another swimmer and coach sit at the end of my warm-up lane, observing intently with little chatter. One can only speculate, but in that speculation, these observers became my own spectators.

For whatever the reason, there are many competitors that set their sights beyond their own competition. They make goals to beat certain swimmers, friends even, and that becomes their spark of motivation. I am having a very hard time understanding these notions, and while I am good at tucking them away and focusing on myself, I can't help but wonder WHY...

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