Thank You for Edible Blue Ribbons (and I ain’t talkin’ about Pabst Beer)


Are we really innately competitive?

Is competition what keeps our species evolving and perpetuating progress?

Is there really glory in besting someone else or do we get that idea from some metaphoric coach on the sidelines with high blood pressure?

I like to win at a chess game as much as the next person but I also like the act of playing just as much.

Am I motivated to win? Yep.

Do I feel bad when I lose? Not so much—unless the winner slaps me around with insinuated personal inadequacy.

There’s a paradoxical element for me in competition.

I like getting better at things but I don’t like encouraging someone else to feel less than me to accomplish it.

That just undermines the whole point of interacting for me.

We are inundated from childhood to win, to be better than others, the best at something—from relay races to debates—My dad’s better than your dad.

We take that into adulthood; make more money, have a bigger house, a nicer car, a better job than the other guy. Win!

Competition is good for business, good for dog races, casinos, technology, reality TV shows, and some other things that offer blue ribbons to gather dust in the attic of our brain after the show is over.

Maybe the blue ribbon subconsciously represents food and survival in it’s origins.

Maybe it is the Darwinian thing. Maybe the prettiest girl does live longer.

Maybe the guy with bad teeth gets tossed out of the linkage. I can’t know.

But I do know that pro football players are not really at risk of starving and they’re not gladiators, fighting for their freedom from the hands of Caesar.

Real life is not a Montessori /Waldorf school. Cooperation and individual social development is not such an adrenaline rush as the realm of competition.

But I can not, for the life of me, find a condiment that makes a blue ribbon taste better than a shared meal, created by cooperative hands.


~ by leakelley on March 11, 2009.

2 Responses to “Thank You for Edible Blue Ribbons (and I ain’t talkin’ about Pabst Beer)”

  1. Is there a contest for best blog titles? Because I bet this one would win the blue ribbon.

    I am not a competitive person and I always feel bad that someone has to lose. Your last line is perfect.

  2. Okay. I’m not naturally competitive. But, I would love to beat you at the word game. That is not likely to come to pass. I often think of our road trips, when you absolutely slay me with your wordsmith-li-ness. That’s why I’m so often relegated to the backseat of our communal vehicles – metaphorical or tangible. I can still drive the car from the backseat, mind you, but I am forever wanting, when it comes to verbal exchanges. And, yeah, all that stuff you said in this post…yeah, I get it. But, I’m still in the game, whether you think winning is worthy or not. I still love it when I say something that gets you in the gut. So, maybe, that wasn’t the point, but I was always late on “getting it”, right?

    That’s why I had such a good time with you and the boys. They often got it, you did, you usually started the game, and I was just glad to be given a game piece.

    Love you, LeaKel,

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