I've always wondered about the nature of the beast that is competition.
From the different events to the emotions that arise from them, I've seen some things that have made me think being involved in any sort of competition isn't always a good thing.
For instance, I wrote a column last year about a coach from a little league baseball team in Utah that intentionally walked the opposing team's best hitter to get to their worst. The problem was the team's worst hitter, 9-year-old Romney Oaks, was a cancer survivor who also had a shunt in his brain.
Naturally, Romney struck out and his team lost. In return, the opposing coach became the target of many who thought he had stooped to an unimaginable low by taking advantage of and humiliating a child who had already been through enough. Supporters of the coach argued that the move was sound baseball strategy, nothing more.
My stance has always been that the coach was only doing what our culture has taught him to do - win. Was it a good way to go about it? No, absolutely not. But it was a valid decision that had to be made for the sake of a win, one that I'm sure the winning team didn't mind getting.
One year later, I still see signs of that winning attitude in nearly everything I see. I attended a few high school football games last year and this year in which I saw adults heckling the players on the field. This is pretty common, I'm sure, but it's disturbing to see a grown man or woman throwing insults at a teenager just because Jimmy or Suzie play on the home team.
But it isn't just sports that you see this kind of behavior. Schools, believe it or not, have rivalries that tend to add to intensity of the sports side of competition. I'm sure everyone remembers the infamous Calallen pep rally from 2004 that saw teachers dress up as homecoming queens from rival school districts in the name of heightening school spirit.
Alice was represented by a gang member while Flour Bluff's queen was shown as a hick with no teeth. Meanwhile, Robstown's queen was represented as being barefoot and pregnant. Explain to me, please, how this ever came to be put on public display in a public school and I'll bet there really is no valid excuse.
In the meantime, a board meeting for a school district that will go unidentified once referred to the Robstown Independent School District as the "dark side," adding transfer students with less than polished records were referred to Robstown rather than admitting them into the district's schools.
Meanwhile, each school district is quick to tout the academic supremacy of their respective programs, essentially saying any other district and their students are inferior.
What it all comes down to, though, is that our society is one that is bred for competition. Everyone wants to be on top, no matter the cost. The question we should all be asking ourselves, though, is this: is it worth becoming what we think we are teaching our children not to be?