This I Believe

Gazi - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

The clock ticks and tocks down. Pencils scribble furiously to finish a coherent thought. A quarterback tries to lead his team in the last moments. People work tirelessly to make a living. Some parents believe that kids should not be put into stressful situations. They do not push their kids because they think that pushing is harmful. I, however, believe that competition is helpful.

For some time, people, both politicians and parents, have debated on how to correct the lagging educational system. America blossomed in science and technology in the late twentieth century. Now, however, the rest of the world is catching up to American in math and science. To counteract this, politicians have started to raise the standards in American schools. This, in turn, has enraged several parents who dislike the pressure put on their children. People, however, have also started to complain about the sending of American jobs overseas. As companies compete to make a profit, Americans now have to compete with foreigners. When I went to Bangladesh after eight years, things had drastically changed. The slums that I remember from 1997 have been hidden by growing cities. Businesses are growing and technology is becoming more commonplace. In the newspapers, there are many ads trying to lure people to study and work overseas. Everyone that works in the technical field tries to earn a job with an American company. These days, competition is everywhere. Trying to get a job is competitive. Trying to hold a job is competitive. Trying to get ahead is competitive.

“You and the freshmen are way too competitive with each other”, Christine complained. We were at the state quiz bowl tournament and we had started to talk about the team during lunch. She was all for team unity. The fact we complained when our own teammate got the question right before us worried her.

“Yea, but competition is what drives us. Trying to beat each other to the buzzer is what got us pretty far in middle school”, I replied. It made perfect sense to me that striding to do better than someone else was beneficial because it was a perpetual method of improvement. There is always someone better to beat, something higher to stride for. For many people around that world, America is that thing.

Every day of my life, I compete. I compete with other students in grades. I compete with my team in soccer. I compete with my friends in quiz bowl so that by becoming better, I help my team. Most importantly, I compete with myself to resist the urge to sit back and be a spectator because I want to be better. Because I believe in competition.