Raised to Compete

By: Jacob Baumgartner

download pdf

When I was just a little kid, my life already revolved around sports. Both of my brothers and I were always competing with each other. It didn’t matter if it was a pickup game of football in the backyard or our class grades in school. We were raised to compete. Some of us took the games too serious and hurt someone physically or emotionally. Either way, any game we played would end badly.

I vividly remember one such game. We were in the backyard playing basketball. It was my older brother, Chase, and my younger brother, Tyler, against me. As the middle child, I was usually the one who got ganged up on by the other two. They were dominating me. Once they had beaten me for what seemed like the millionth time, my competitive anger took control. I grabbed the ball and punted it over the neighbor’s fence, then took off toward the house. Chase immediately picked up a football and launched it at my head. This game ended with me in tears. I lost.

Football was usually the game in which I got hurt the worst. That was until one day at Grandma’s farm. We were playing football and the fat jokes just wouldn’t stop. As a kid I was a bit huskier than most. “You can’t catch me fatty…Why so tired jelly belly?” Chase yelled out. My anger kept building. It was time for the next play. I was playing defense and Chase was the quarterback. He tried to do a quarterback sneak, but I knew it was coming. Running toward each other, we lowered our shoulders and collided. I got underneath him and picked him up on my shoulder. Once I had him up in the air, I slammed him to the ground as hard as I could. He immediately burst into tears. I bruised his ribs that day. I called that a win.

My competitive nature didn’t always involve me getting angry and doing something immature. In the classroom I strived for excellence. If I didn’t earn an “A”, I felt like I failed. When I would get a “B” my parents would say it was okay, but I didn’t want to be just okay. I wanted to be great. Thus,
throughout high school, I worked hard and managed to graduate with a 4.0. My brothers didn’t even get close to that GPA. I won again.

High school is done, and the competition is tougher than ever. I managed to earn a scholarship for football, and every day I get to compete in the weight room and on the field. My urge to compete in the classroom has increased too.  More students are trying to earn a better grade than me, so I have to work twice as hard to stay ahead of them. I don’t know when the competitive side of me will call it quits. Maybe it will be when I am done playing football, or when I finally become a doctor. Personally, I don’t think my competitive nature will ever cease to exist. It will merely focus on something new and more challenging. That is, of course, until I cease to exist.

Comments are closed.