I am not competitive. Okay, I am sometimes competitive. The person I compete with the most is myself. I'm constantly trying to improve, do it better than the last time, be more creative than the last time.
This weekend I was able to celebrate a competitive achievement that I helped accomplish over 21 years ago. This past weekend I was honored with my team as we
were inducted into the Otsego County Sports Hall of Fame. Why? Because in 1994 we worked our tails off to become the Class B State Champions in Competitive Cheer. We were the first team from our high school to earn such a title. This was a HUGE deal for us and our community in 1994 and was a pretty big deal this past weekend.
Now, what I was (not so delicately) reminded of this weekend was that I was an alternate. You know... I was on the team, worked with the team, learned all routines-each person's specific role, stepped into spots, helped coach watch for precision inaccuracies, etc. Not just a cheerleader's cheerleader, but I did that, too. I laughed with this team, cried with this team, fought for this team, celebrated with this team. But, during competitions, I "sat the bench." Now, most of the time, I don't think about this. Because I was there. I almost always felt like I was part of the team. Most of the girls never made me feel like I wasn't important. My coach didn't either. I sometimes didn't feel as important, but that is (unfortunately) the nature of being a teenage girl. (And, I would be lying if I said I never cried over being an alternate.) We sometimes only have a narrow point of view when we are young and that view is "all about me". As the past twenty-ish years have gone on, I usually only remember the good. My mind is pretty good like that. (Thank goodness!) So, as a couple of grown women tried to make me feel bad this weekend, I got to thinking. I want us all to succeed. ALL OF US. I compete with myself to bring my best to the table as much as possible. I want all of us - men and women alike - to bring our best and be a success. It never occurred to me that people might want to use this experience to reignite old wounds. It blows my mind how adults still try to tear one another down. For what? Maybe people are very insecure and it makes them feel better. Maybe the hurt and anger is holding them back from being their best selves. I'm not really sure. I do know that I see this in my high school students and they must learn it from somewhere. The adults.
So, if you are an adult (or not) please be aware of how you treat the people around you. Not just the little people you might take care of, your good friends, or your significant other. Be mindful of how you treat the people that might not mean as much to you like the woman at the check out counter, the waiter, your old teammate from high school, your current peers. Be mindful of how you speak about them once you leave their vicinity. The young people in your life are indeed watching and learning from you. Be the example of kindness, compassion and looking at the world from a perspective that is not yours.
And if you're feeling like the world is throwing lemons your way, rise above to the best of your ability. Attitude is everything. Let's build each other up instead of tearing each other down. And in the words of my wise mother, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. With the utmost desire for all of your successes - small and great... LP
This was reprinted from a blog post I did in October 2015. I thought it was worth repeating.