You just finish thanksgiving dinner and you get a call from that one friend who calls you out for some late night 1v1. You already played a ton of 1v1 ball with a few friend earlier in the day to make room for that huge thanksgiving dinner but that competitive urge in you just can't resist the temptation to go run to the gym and play your friend. Where does that urge come from? Are you addicted? (Maybe) Are you crazy? (Definitely) Or are you driven by the prospect of playing an intense game or two against someone who will help you push the limits?
That last one is what got me. I read a quote from the late great Arthur Ashe that best explains the why:
"You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself....and when you reach your limits, that is real joy."
A profound statement that I have found to be true time and time again. I love the opportunity to find out how good I can be at something and crave opportunities to test the limits. So when my buddy called me, I had to go because he and I always go hard in our 1v1's, it is the basis of why we became friend. You can actually read an article I wrote about him "Go Hard or Go Home" (Click Here) We went at it till late in the night, driven by the desire to see how hard we could push each other. That is what should drive any true competitor.
It is not as much about beating the other guy, tho that is a part of why we play, but for me, I want to see how all the work I have put in my training is paying off. That for me is where the true joy of the game lies. Nobody plays sports to lose, we play to win! The old saying goes "Winning isn't everything" and there is some truth to it, but the bigger truth is that it is the measure of success in your sport.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did an interview where they talked about why they compete and how having an opponent that can push you to your limits can bring out the best in you. Check out my article "Ironsharpening Through Competition" (Click Here). They knew how to separate themeslves from the competition but understanding the root of why they compete and then applied it to their craft.
My encouragement for you today is to tap into that desire to be better, find that someone who will push you to the limit and together become the best you can be. When you get to that limit, you have discovered the real joy of competition and have discovered the secret to staying competitve!'
Stay forever strong!