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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Competition can be good, but sometimes it gets a little silly.

When we were young and a little more carefree we spent a lot of time playing Frisbee. Playing may not seem like the right word, but it is a perfect description of the art of Frisbee. Throw, catch, and watch it float majestically from one person to the next.

With the right throw you could send it around a tree, or bounce it lightly off the ground. Artwork, poetry, heavenly, call it whatever you choose. It was a plastic disc, perfect in design, and execution.

We loved the time in the park. If it dropped no big deal, if you didn't catch it or throw it perfectly there were no repercussions.

Someone told us about "Ultimate Frisbee" a competition, and asked us to join their team, we played a lot of Frisbee, and that seemed like a plus. In a couple of seconds we laughed and said no. We didn't know much about the game, but Frisbee was not a competition, it was a cooperation.

Society has to turn everything into a competition. There are cheer competitions, dance offs, choir
competitions, American Idol, America's Next Top Model, chef shows, and almost anything you can imagine. "I will kick your ass at cooking!" or modeling, or singing, or being, or doing something that is not really a sport.

Why? What is the appeal of watching somebody win? Or, is it the opportunity to watch somebody lose. Everybody loves a loser, right? It is a world filled with the chance to fall short, to fail, and we eat it up. Kick them out of the house, off the Island, out of the kitchen, fire them, and we can see a loser, shamed, humiliated, disgraced. Why is that so appealing.

Each show has one winner, but a lot of losers. That is what people love, losers. Maybe not the losers, but the losing. It draws people in and they delight in the failures. These shows claim to crown a champion, and they do, once, but only after a season filled with sad sacks stumbling from the spotlight with the pall of loss chasing them.

Competition is healthy, and invigorating, but obsession and farce are not. There are things that are just fun, dancing, Frisbee, acting, singing that are just for joy. It lessens the effort to judge them, and score them. Why do people enjoy it so much?