THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
As we return to the book "No Contest" by Alfie Kohn, an interesting thesis is presented. We discuss competition as it relates to sports. We've even examined it at the workplace. But what happens when it comes home?
A quote from Walter Weisskopf cited by Kohn notes that competitors eventually sprout in the forms of "sex partners, siblings, neighbors, and peers of his group." It's no wonder that a slang term for bedding a lover is "scoring!"
But think back to elementary days when emotions and attractions were not what drove someone towards a partner, but rather the competition to call him or her "yours" and parade him or her around like an object to be shown off.
Think of even more complex questions that could develop later into relationships as adulthood presses on. Perhaps partners wonder who has the bigger paycheck, the most friends, or the sharper wit, to quote Kohn.
What happens when a child is born? Could there be a competition as to which parent will be preferred by the child? Could multiple children signal a competition for who is Mommy's or Daddy's favorite? Do parents begin to compete with other parents as they socialize, wondering whose infant walked or talked first? Does it continue as it is compared as to whose teenager got into the better college?
As you can see from these suppositions, anxiety is probably knocking at the door!
The point here, though, is that a conscious awareness that we have the potential to bring this type of setting home with us may just diffuse it and prevent it from even happening. We are practicing good sportsmanship when we realize that none of these things should be a competition! There is no ultimate prize in winning any of these games! A perceived status or quick and short-lived gratification do not feed the ultimate desires of being human.
Instead of feeding this beast, work to celebrate each individual accomplishment for what it is: individual. It's not a game when it comes to this stuff.
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.