Competition is Great – BUT Doesn’t Outperform Humanity

January 31, 2023

Football, soccer, basketball, etc. So much fun to watch and play. There’s an excitement in watching competition – whether it’s your child’s T-Ball game or a professional sport. The goal is clear: TO WIN. This is also true in non-team competitions like marathons, surfing, tennis matches, etc. As well as competing with others, you are competing with yourself to be the best you can be. Yes, competition is thrilling and there’s a euphoria when there’s a win. In all of these examples, there are losers. And that’s OK.

However, when the Buffalo Bills’ Safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, the game stopped. Members of both teams surrounded the downed player. Fans of both teams remained and were united in their concern and support for Damar. The game was first suspended and then cancelled. Recently, Damar sent a message of gratitude via a video.

“You put humanity above team loyalty. You showed the world unity over division,” Hamlin said. “I am not surprised by it, but I am deeply grateful and I will be forever thankful and indebted to that.”

In an individual sport like running a marathon, the win for most runners is to improve your PR (Personal Record). During the 50th NYC marathon, 39-year-old Jamel Melville collapsed just 200 years from the finish line. He watched another runner go by and then make the decision to stop, turn around and help him. He was joined by another runner as they helped him cross the finish line. For athletes who’ve trained months for this event, the decision to stop just short of the finish line to go back and help another is simply selfless.

We should continue to enjoy competitive sports and cheer for a win. However, when someone needs serious help, it is re-affirming that our concern for another human being out-weighs that drive. Let’s not wait for the next crisis or life threatening situation to demonstrate this level of humanity. We have plenty of opportunity in our work and personal lives to be united on such a significant level