I used to wrestle—for three years, until I was too old to continue with the organization that I was a part of. One time, after losing a match, I sat back down on the bench, changing my shoes and getting a drink of water. I heard a parent yelling at their son for losing his last match. They never told him what to do better, they just yelled, but the coaches helped him by telling him his mistakes. All week after that meet, I practiced as hard as I could, trying to learn how to correct the mistakes I had made in my match. At my second wrestling meet, I won my match. But the same kid was being yelled at by his parents because he had done the same thing he did the previous week, causing him to lose again. Competition is about more than just winning and losing. Really, competition is not even about the activity that one participates in. Competition is about learning how to grow as a person, learning how to accept defeat, learning not to over or underestimate yourself and others, and, above all, learning from your mistakes.
During my last wrestling tournament, I was overconfident. I underestimated my opponents and so I did not perform to the best of my ability. Because of this, I lost both of my matches. I was very upset, and blamed my loss on the fact that they were better than I expected, but my dad took me aside and told me that the reason I failed was because I had expected to win, so I didn’t try as hard as I could have. That was when I learned that the key to victory is respecting your opponent and trying your hardest. I also learned to accept defeat. I was in denial that I lost my matches fair and square, but I had to admit that it was my fault that I lost, and no one else could take responsibility. When you compete, the immediate objective is to perform better than whoever you are performing against. You cannot win every time, however. That is why an athlete must consistently practice. They must always be working to better themselves and fix the faults that they may have made in their last performance. This shows that athletes, and really anybody who participates in any form of competition, must work hard to better themselves at every opportunity. They must learn from the mistakes that they make to be the best that they can be.
I’ve learned a lot from competition: how to admit defeat, how to respect my opponent, how to put in my best effort, and how to fix my mistakes. These things I’ve learned will assist me in being a better person in the future.