16 August 2013

the insecurities of winners

no doubt this post will come across as the sour grapes of someone who has never been a 'winner', but is instead a whiner.  as of late i was reminded of the mentality that some people associate with the spirit of competition ... and the pluses and minuses that go along with it.

so one of the tv shows that i follow with regularity is the reality series ink master - not because i'm a tattoo guy (although i will almost certainly get at least one tattoo before i expire) but because i enjoy dave navarro as a host (back from his rockstar: inxs days) and because somehow my kids started watching before i did.  walking past the tv and hearing all of the *bleeped* out profanities, i had to exercise my parental duty and find out just whether or not i needed to censor this programming from my kids' lives.  instead i decided to join them.

this (third) season of ink master has one artist named joshua hibbard, who's easily become the antagonist of the bunch.  he's demonstrated an unapologetic cut-throat style of competition, deciding not to let the best tattooer emerge on top but instead to try to undermine the chances of the other contenders by using devious ploys and mind games.  he's employing the crab-in-the-bucket, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.

a character like joshua makes for great tv ... specifically by getting on everyone's nerves.

contrast that with the most recent viral video offering from (chris) ashton kutcher emerging from last week's teen choice awards:

his acceptance speech is all about keeping it real, working hard, being smart, generous, and creating your own life.  not about keeping the other guy down, measuring yourself relative to the position of others, or having to pretend that your something you're not.

what does any of this have to do with running or racing?

i run because i'm better for it.  i race because it pushes me to train hard, to have goals, to focus on crossing the finish line.  

i don't do it because i want to brag, or belittle others, or show that i can just as good as any kenyan (however impossible that may be).

i don't do it so that i can differentiate 'joggers' from 'runners'.

i don't do it so that my name can appear before your name on the results list.

i don't need you to lose for me to be able to win.

agree or disagree, i'm just going to go ahead with trying to become the best me that i can be.  

and my hope is that you'll strive to do the same for yourself.

ok, i admit to liking this one ... ]



  1. It's taken me a while to realise that the ultimate goal of running isn't, well, running. I love to run, to train, and to race, I have a competitive spirit that comes out in the late stages of a half-marathon, and I'm proud of the times when I've placed well in a race.

    But for all that, the medals mean less to me than what I've learned from the process. Running has taught me how to set goals, how to work towards something difficult, how to recover from setbacks, how to appreciate the present whilst not losing sight of the future, and how to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

    I also love the diversity of it all. I get just as much of a thrill from a friend running their first 5k as watching Kiprotich get Olympic gold.

    I think it's possible to have a healthy relationship with competition. I take joy in pushing myself against others, but I'm profoundly grateful for the existence of the other runners, whether they are faster or slower than me, because without them the race wouldn't exist.

  2. Awesome post, dude. For me, it's always been about competing with myself...to see how far I can push my limits. this entire undercutting stuff is pretty horrible but some people get away with it so they'll just keep doing it...whether in races, jobs, etc.

    4 weeks left till the big day...sounds like you're ready. :)