Being a very competitive and high energy athlete myself; I know that in certain cases it is easy to let our competitive natures get the best of us. In the heat of the game, any player, team, or coach is susceptible to becoming overwhelmed; which can lead to getting carried away with their competitiveness. I’ve always found the popular quote, “A victory without honor is a great loss”, to have great meaning. If you become too into winning that you are willing to hurt others who are in your way, or to kick another team while they are down by running up the score in order to discourage them, then you have sacrificed your honor and turned the victory into something not to be proud of anymore. However, there are some players out there who have that competitive edge to their game that makes them just that much better while retaining their honor. These players can focus their competitive edge on the essential game situations that can make or break the game. An obvious example that comes to mind when I think of a “competitive player” is Michael Jordan.
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Michael Jordan is still considered to be one of the greatest basketball players that ever played the game and is listed as number one in the top ten most competitive athletes. Many people wonder why this is and often ask questions like: “what was it that made him so much better than others at the game?” The main reason for his reputation of being a strong competitor is the fact that Jordan was the type of player that would never let his team down, and would never quit fighting for the win: no matter how much time was left and no matter how bad they were losing. His drive for the game and his determination to get his team and him to the top with another victory is what really made him stand out amongst his fellow athletes.
Ever since Michael Jordan was young, he couldn’t stand losing. When he was not the best at something, he would do whatever it took, including countless hours of practice and running drills, just to become the best. His willingness to do anything to improve his game is just one of the many things that made him rise to the top. When he was told he couldn’t do something or did not have the skill-set to accomplish something, Jordan used that and turned it into motivation and drive that would only improve his game. For example, in his younger days, Michael was just short of being the fastest basketball player on his team in sprints. When he came back the next season however, he passed up his whole team and once again accomplished what he set his heart to.
When you are as competitive as Michael Jordan, you have the ability to do great things; however, if you let that competitiveness get the best of you, you are in trouble. The players that use their competitiveness to fight players on the field, or make dirty plays with the intention of harming a fellow player, do not focus their competitive edge on the right aspects of the game, and consequently hurt themselves and their teammates. Players, like Michael Jordan, who use their competitiveness as a motivational tool, are able to improve their skills inspire their teammates. Then there are those athletes out there who could be the fastest, most skilled player on their teams, but just do not have the drive to do so. If you are too lazy to get up early in the morning and run extra sprints, throw a few extra free-throws, or juggle the soccer ball around for an hour, you will never succeed the way that Michael Jordan did. To be a competitive athlete, you cannot possess only skill, only have speed or size, or only have the competitive drive: you have to combine all three. To be a competitive athlete and succeed, you have to want to become better, want to be the best; and have the desire, drive and determination to accomplish all your goals and dreams. And, if there is one athlete out there that you could look up to for motivation, look up to Michael Jordan.