This I Believe

Charles - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in competition. I’m not a Social Darwinist who believes in “survival of the fittest”, however, I believe in competition in sports.

From day One I was that overly hyper kid who could just not stop running around. My first word other than “mama” and “dada” was “ball”. Since age five I have stuck to my philosophy in practice before I even solidified my belief that being competitive in sports is a good thing. I played any game that involved throwing, kicking, shooting, or running, and always pushed myself to the limit of my capabilities.

I believe most of all in competition for competitions sake. This doesn’t mean pushing and shoving around people who are just trying to have fun; it means doing my personal best, and the harder the odds the better. Everyday at my school in Switzerland the soccer players of all grades would head to the field to play against each other. Usually tenth graders, were the disadvantaged grade because of age and size, but nevertheless I played harder and tried my best along with my teammates. The times we won it was our strong competitive spirit that made the victory all the sweeter. Win or lose, however, I was always glad to have played because I knew I had done my best that day.

One achievement I am most proud of, though it resulted in no tangible reward or even congratulations, was the communal race held annually in Geneva called The Escalade. The majority of people don’t even consider it a race; most participants dress up in costumes and basically jog and parade down the several kilometer loop through the old city of Geneva after dark on a cold night in early December. I, however, run the whole thing as though there was something to win. And for me, there is. I reward myself by trying harder, achieving faster times, and it’s worth a lot to me. Because of this competitive spirit I got 14th in all of Bellevue which is a canton just outside of Geneva.

My resolve to do my best and go beyond my abilities has at times really pushed the limits and got me into some bad conditions. Although my injuries have thankfully not been nearly as grave or numerous as other athletes I‘ve known, I have had a few. I split open my chin, requiring stitches, broke my wrist, and badly sprained ankle. Yet within a week or two of suffering each I was at it again playing soccer on crutches and baseball with a cast!

Competition is about more than just winning and getting stronger; for me it’s a way of life. Because win or lose I’ll always know that I tried my best so that the exhilarating feeling of accomplishment will burn forever.