Competition Should Be Identical To Cooperation

“In true competition no person is defeated.”

–W. Timothy Gallwey

Remember when “good sportsmanship” was awarded?  At least for athletes through high school.  We largely didn’t tolerate poor sportsmanship in youth sports.

But somehow we let them graduate to college and professional sports where poor sportsmanship is the rule–drop ’em and leave ’em for dead.  In pro sports it takes an egregious act to warrant a personal foul and rarely is it acknowledged by the perpetrator. How far away are our extreme sports from the blood sport of ancient Rome?

Competition today, seemingly for all ages of athletes, means the arrival of the victor and the denigration of the loser.  Not much recognition of the journey just the destination of winning.

“It is the duty of your opponent to create the greatest difficulties for you, just as it is yours to try to create obstacles for him,” W. Timothy Gallwey, observes.  The obstacles are a very necessary part of self discovery.  We directly experience our own resources and increase our self knowledge.  The process is more rewarding then the victory, Gallwey explains.

“True competition is identical with true cooperation, each player tries his hardest to defeat the other, but in this use of competition it isn’t the other person we are defeating; it is simply a matter of overcoming the obstacles he presents,” Gallwey affirms. In this realization the professional athlete could reach down and give his opponent a help up after the block, tackle or foul.

Question:  Are competition and good sportsmanship mutually exclusive?  

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