Competition LO18217

Ben Compton (
Fri, 29 May 1998 12:03:21 -0500

Replying to LO18142 --

Scott Simmerman unknowingly made a point I've been unable to communicate
in describing his climb of Mt. Mitchell.

"Riding alone would be impossible for most, since riding in packs helped
to minimize the wind resistance and generated lots of social support. As
a group, the cops and traffic let us roll through the Big Intersections
without stopping - an individual would have been stopped, I think."

Bike racing is both a competitive and cooperative sport. Drafting, which
Scott describes as a way of reducing "wind resistance" is a common
practice. If you race with a team, you'll draft other team members, each
taking their turn in the "lead position" so know one person tires. If
you're racing alone, you'll draft those you're competiting against.

And this is the point, if you draft someone who is in the back of the
pack, or worse, far behind the pack, it may make your race easier but
you'll certainly not win. You want to "draft" your way to the front of the
pack, riding behind someone for a while, then moving up in the pack, and
settling in behind someone else. This is a form of competitive
cooperation, as people may draft off of me while I'm drafting off someone
else. On the other hand, one of the best ways to lose a race is to "lead"
the pack the whole race. If you do, you'll be so tired you can't
effectively sprint at the end toward the finish line (assuming you have
enough endurance and energy to stay ahead of the pack all the way to the
finish line).

Now some will say this is bad form of competition because there is a
"winner" and a "loser." Technically they are correct; but does the fact
that there is a winner and a loser make an activity bad? What about the
increased level of performance everyone experiences who regularly
competes? Is that increase in performance negated just because they didn't
"win"? I don't think so.

There are very few sports where I was ever the "winner" but I always
enjoyed competiting, and I always enjoyed increasing my own ability to

Another thing related to sports is the need of a team to work together.
The way to get on a team is to "try out." That means competing with other
people for a specific position. The coach watches each person, and
determines who is the best person to fill the first string position. Once
each person is chosen they have to learn to work together as a team. So
clearly the coach will look for a good "working relationship" with other
people, so he/she can create a winning team. This again emphasizes that
effective competition often hinges on effective cooperation .

And on a side note, sometimes competition can bring injury to one or more
people. It is common for atheletes to injure their body in competiting,
especially in the rougher sports like football, rugby, and hockey. But
all atheletes know when they step out on the playing field, they're
risking their health to compete. The thrill of competition, the struggle
of one person against another, the desire to improve one's own
performance, to reach the next goal, all of this is worth the risk of
personal injury.

My body is pretty torn up from football, but I don't regret that I played,
or that I played with such intensity. Even on cold days when my knees
hurt, or at night when I wake up with a sore shoulder, I think back on the
experiences I had playing football and it is all worth it to me.

I cannot think of a single competition in which I participated, but did
not win, or which injured me, that I regret. They were all positive
experiences for me.

Benjamin Compton
DWS -- "The GroupWise Integration Experts"
A Novell Platinum Partner


Ben Compton <>

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