What is Christian Competition?

Pre game Huddle
Media by Steven Potter

Written by Clayton Alvaro Buhler. Media by Steven Potter.

It always baffles me when people try to justify hostile behavior during sports by saying something like, “I just really don’t like losing.” Has there ever been a person who liked losing? I used to say this all the time, and it was only recently that I realized my problem wasn’t that I hated losing, but rather that I loved winning way too much. This may seem counter intuitive for someone who loves and has always played sports to ask–it even seems un-American to ask–but why do we value winning so highly? I ask this to myself and others not just as a sports lover, but even more so as a Christian.

Let me use a classic GC example; I have been involved in intramural basketball for three years now. I know firsthand that these games often get a little too heated. I’ve contributed to these flared emotions numerous times myself (for which I do want to apologize–you know who you are). The point is, why would sincere Christians continually lose their tempers over losing what are glorified pick-up games? Why do we as Christians care so much about winning?

People often say they play a sport because they love it. I’ve often wondered if we would continue to play these sports if we never won. Seriously, imagine if you had never won a single game in your career… would that change your love for the game? What if they stopped keeping score… would it still be worth doing? I believe that sports build character, but what is it about a sport that builds this character? Is it the winning, or is it the losing? A true competitor is often described as someone who gives it their all regardless of the score. So do we need winners and losers in order to compete?

I know this sounds soft. Competition is my number one strength, and unfortunately I still die a little on the inside every time I suffer a frustrating loss. Just help me imagine what it would be like if sports had always existed without a score. What would be lost? More importantly, what could be gained?

Media by: Steven Potter




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