Competition is what drives us. It’s what makes us strive to become better and skilled in what we do. This dedication to excellence and superiority has driven us to accomplish immeasurable goals and standards. However, realistically speaking, is competition necessary for everything? Even in our daily hobbies, is it really mandatory for us to go into them with rivalry and competitiveness? In our recreations, competition provides stress and tension in what should be an easy going pastime. The article “Are There Activities That You Used to Love That Are Now So Competitive They Aren’t Fun Anymore?” states how the flood of competition in today’s environment is creating discord in what should be considered relaxing activities. I have had many hobbies soiled with rivalry and competition. It’s become impossible to find a pastime that doesn’t demand excellence. The recent surge of competition and pursuit of superiority creates complications and conflicts in activities we do for sole recreation.
Competition makes you scared of being “mediocre.” It creates fear that makes what should be an enjoyable pastime into a rivalry with others. It creates an environment where you are defined by how skilled and talented you are. Whether it be arts or sports, society enforces an unspoken rule -- that you must be adept at your recreation. This silent law shook me to my core. I began fencing just for a part-time hobby, but as time progressed I found myself going more and more until one day it suddenly became a serious part of my life. I needed to rise above the rest. I needed to claw my way to the top and become a seasoned fencer that could always stand victorious at the end of every bout. These “needs” overwhelmed me. Losing was unthinkable. Defeat was inconceivable. My mindset was overrun with the will to win. However, alongside that will came another emotion, fear. A fear that I have never felt before. A fear that would scratch and pick at me whenever I was doing something, anything, that wasn’t related to fencing. It was only quenched whenever I was on the strip with my sword in my hand. The dread that I had to keep up with the rest made me restless and anxious. I couldn’t deal with it anymore, so I cut it off. My dread of being sub-par and the constant feeling of gripping restlessness got to be too much for me and my GPA.
Competition and rivalry force you to practice your hobby more. It demands time and effort from you and pushes you to get more skilled in order to deal with your competition. For me, playing cello was one of my most valued pastimes. It helped me to unwind and de-stress after a day of studying. Hearing the strings vibrate as my bow flowed across them is one of the most soothing experiences I ever had. However, my playing was plagued by seating arrangement tests, playing scores, and excellence. The orchestra I participated in was ruthless. Middle schoolers were nothing more than ravenous dogs lashing at each other’s throats if someone made the smallest mistake. The once sweet harmony of my playing turned bitter with perfectionism. I thought that I would achieve happiness once I finished perfecting a certain piece. I thought that once I made it through a complicated composition I could feel joy. But after playing in numerous orchestras, it dawned on me that practicing several hours a day didn’t feel like freedom anymore. Rather, it felt like I was trapped. I needed to get a better score than others. I needed to become the best cellist in the orchestra. My mellow days of playing transformed into a forced regimen of continuous practice. Eventually, I quit all my orchestras as well as any events. I now only play whenever I feel like it, and now actually feel pleasure in picking up my bow. One doesn’t need to practice their hobby to the point where he/she gets sick of it. A hobby where one feels a crushing pressure to get better at it shouldn’t be considered a hobby at all.
In this day and age, we consider competition one of the top morale boosters there is. It makes us reach heights that we wouldn’t have been able to reach without it, yet it comes with a hefty cost-- stress, anxiety, and nervousness are part of the package deal. All of those emotions drive us to do our best. However, what our society has to realize is that we don’t need to be the best at our recreations. The things that we do for fun should be separated from the things that we do for necessity. Competition makes us fear to be average at our hobbies, as well as making us devote extra time and effort into our pastimes, making us feel pressured to be skilled in whatever we do. Although I understand that our society itself is being boosted by competition, it doesn’t make up for it’s flaw. Competitiveness and rivalry are ruining the activities we partake in for enjoyment.