Competition remains essential for growth


Isabelle Weiss

Seniors Matthew Escobar and Jacey McFaddin fight for the ball at the Beach FC indoor facility on Oct. 17.

Gold medals and first place trophies. These mere objects possess no value without competition. Competition drives creativity and encourages innovation. Without it, teenagers lack the experience to prepare them for the real world.

Some frown upon the thought of competition due to the fact that it sometimes causes thoughts of inadequacy and even depression. Whereas, statistics show that competition builds valuable life lessons.

Those who embrace and instill competition earlier in life develop key characteristics like tenacity, resilience, and perseverance which come in handy later on in life.

In fact, according to the Institute of Competition Sciences, a K-12 environment provides a “safe place” where teenagers can engage in competition, build their mental toughness, and circumvent the desire to quit or give up.

Competitiveness by itself is not a bad attribute to have. The way parents, coaches, and fans treat competitions is what makes people perceive them as unhealthy. In other words, if the only goal planted into teens’ minds is to win and not learn anything in the process, then they will obviously feel discouraged when they lose.

Take the Washington Nationals for example. In late May, the team was under .500. Fast forward to October, and they have earned the title as World Series champions. If the Nationals did not learn from their early-season mistakes, they would not have even made the playoffs. 

Sooner or later, people will realize the “participation trophy” culture does not benefit youth in the long run. From the presidential race to a cross-country meet, competition exists everywhere, and people cannot escape it. 

“If you practice competition, students who are motivated by different incentives will be more likely to participate,” said career education teacher and DECA adviser Jim Cartwright.