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Competition IS Fun

By Maxim T., Grade 12
In my opinion, I was born a competitor. Around 7 years old, I started playing all sorts of sports: soccer, basketball and hockey. I had so much fun playing these sports. The problem was I could not stand the reality of losing. I remember the first time I lost a soccer game; we were playing against the best team in Sherbrooke. I went there full of confidence, thinking my team would do everything to win, since in my head that was the only goal. Fast forward, we lost 8-0, and it seemed like most of our players were more interested in picking flowers than playing the game.

Some of you might be thinking, "Who cares about a loss when you were only seven?" But let me tell you, I cared. I left that field red-faced from all the effort, and I cried the whole way home until I fell asleep. Growing up, I realized not everyone was as competitive as me. At school, I always wanted to be the best. I'd race to be first in line because those small wins meant something to me.
The thing is, I had no idea what effect this had on others until fifth grade. That's when I hit a wall. I had this teacher, Fanny, who told me I was too competitive, that I took up too much space, and if I didn't change, it would cause issues with others in the future. Meanwhile, my basketball coach kept emphasizing that winning wasn't everything; it was about participating.
That's when I began to question myself. Was I being too hard on others? Should I just play for fun like everyone else seemed to be doing? After a few more practices, I couldn't stop thinking about what my coach had said. So, I went to talk to him and expressed my disagreement. I mean, what's the point of participating if you're not going to give it your all to win? On that day, I made a choice. I stood up for myself and decided I wouldn't change who I was or the values I was raised with just to please those looking for an easy way out.  
From sixth grade to ninth grade, I found myself on the sidelines more often during basketball games, and every report card seemed to carry a note about not giving others a chance. I understand, it might be a controversial opinion, but I've always believed, and continue to believe, that the idea of "having fun is all that matters" is typically something said by those who lose. Please don't take this personally, but supporting that statement suggests you don't need to put in the effort if you’re enjoying yourself. I believe we should reconsider this statement from a different angle. Being competitive and giving your all is what ultimately leads to fun.
In other words, fun comes when you give all you have in everything you do. Think about the joy of winning a tough hockey game or acing a hard test you studied for. Those moments feel incredible, right? Compared to just breezing through a game against an easy opponent, they're way more satisfying. In our world, competition is everywhere around us. As we grow older and step into the real world, we'll come to understand that achieving our goals often requires relentless effort and determination, even if it means sacrificing immediate enjoyment.
So why not start today? Give it your all in everything you do, and don't see those you compete against as enemies, but rather as allies who help you improve.  As Bernie would say – competition is the most sincere form of friendship.
I'll admit, there's a fine line between healthy and unhealthy competition, and it's something I'm still figuring out. But I'm confident I'll get there. Today, I'm here to share a simple yet powerful lesson: competition isn't just about making ourselves better, it's about lifting others up too. Because let's face it, if life has always been easy, reality hits hard when you step into the adult world.
To finish, I want to thank my parents, my sister, my brother, my coaches and my teammates who make me better every day by making my life harder. And to Fanny, I respectfully disagree with what you told me for four years straight. Embracing who I am and taking up space has taught others to stand up for themselves. Now, dear Fanny, I wish you the best of luck to handle my little brother.