Friday, April 29, 2022

The Right Attitude

I learned in childhood that competition can sap all the joy out of sport. It's a lesson to be heeded at all stages of life. 

I enjoyed playing baseball in pick-up games around our neighborhood but dreaded playing it in Little League where adults yelled at small boys for ordinary play. I remember standing on the field hoping the ball wasn't hit to me for fear of making an error and becoming a target of abuse from adult coaches. 

There's intrinsic fun in all physical activity but you can ruin a good time by focusing on "winning." True winning is enjoying yourself. If you're not a paid professional (as none of us are) fun should the goal, not beating others in matches that don't matter. That's my attitude in billiards, motorcycle-riding and other activities.

I also use this insight as a spectator. Competition is okay to keep score of how your team is doing but shouldn't obscure the magic of their play. This year I went to ten hockey games. My team (NJ Devils) is one of the very worst in the NHL. Overall they lost more than two out of every three games they played -- yet I loved the excitement of attending. I saw young players developing promising careers, an old player savoring his remaining time on the ice, crowds roaring with delight at spirited play and a community wearing colorful jerseys to share their pride. Those games were highlights of my year and unaffected by whether the team won or lost. (In fact, they won seven of the ten games.)

We can choose how we live and think. Much modern culture, especially around sports, is wrong-headed and leads to unhealthy experience. Adopt the right attitude and sports can enhance your life.


  1. I'm so with you on this attitude, Ally! It's why we have our little non-league Ultimate Frisbee team - so we can have fun! Yeah, we want to win, but a good game is really the goal.

    People who get really wrought up over their teams...that's just not me.

  2. So true! I'm not really into sports so I don't get the whole "win at all costs" mentality. i definitely thing it should be fun and enjoyable - no matter who wins or loses, just so you can enjoy the activity!

    Hope that you had a good weekend :) It's a nice relaxing long weekend here.

    Away From The Blue

  3. Excellently said, Ally - and a wise reminder to us all.

    For better or worse, in most settings at least, I have nary a competitive bone in my body and vastly prefer, for example, to not keep score while playing board games (save perhaps for if I am doing so with my mom, as she is super easygoing on that front as well).

    Sunny hugs & joyful start of May wishes,
    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    PS: You and Robin have both been in my thoughts a great deal this spring - especially since the progressive worsening of the mysterious, perplexing health issues I am dealing with continues to hugely impact that amount of time I have been able to spend online. As a result, I am both far behind on your blog and, in turn, catching up with what's been happening on your end as of late.

    Fingers, toes, and springtime flower stems alike all crossed that I can stay more abreast of things here this month and beyond. :)

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, pal. I hope your health improves soon.

  4. I think this is why I always preferred non-competitive or only lightly competitive things like cheerleading, rollerskating, and Dance Dance Revolution. They were active, fun, and didn't bring out the level of craziness that football tends to.

    The only truly 'pro' game I ever attended was an Atlanta Braves baseball game. Baseball is pretty fun to watch in person, slow, but enjoyable if you're with good company.

  5. I agree! I like playing games and sports but as I'm not a natural sportsman, was always made to feel inferior because I wasn't so good at them!

    1. I had the same experience. Ranking participants as less-talented is cruel.

  6. I am SO not competitive. I recoil once something starts showing a hint of competitiveness lol

    I think you can have a healthy dose of it that inspires you to do better/try things but not at the expense of hurting others or losing perspective of things.

    Karen @For What It's Worth