Everyone strives to get that gold medal, and when you do it’s a sensational feeling of pride. Although winning and losing is what comes to mind for most people when they think of competition, there is much more to it than just that. For years, I had been doing traditional karate, which will always be a part of me. Learning how to defend yourself is a useful and important skill to have in the real world, but competition is what really changed me, and is something I will never forget. Having the feeling of excitement but perpetual anxiousness, competition has made me learn the glory of victory and the hardship of defeat, along with forming who I have become as a person.

Competing regularly takes commitment and dedication, but it has helped me to grow into a more complete person. Competing has constructed many of my positive characteristics. It has increased my confidence and has brought me out of my shell. My first competition was probably one of the scariest moments. A shy, elementary schooler having a big crowd watching her was definitely a frightening moment. But as time went on, the fear slowly crept away as I started to fall in love with what I was doing. Something that competition has taught me is to never give up and to always strive for the best. It has taught me to push past any obstacles life throws at me. There is no better feeling than knowing that you faced an obstacle, and that only through grit and determination you overcame it and became successful. Competition has also improved my leadership skills. Playing sports provides participants with opportunities to develop skills in communication and team building.

The road to competing can be exhausting at times, but in the end, the best part is who you’re with and the friendships you form by traveling all across the country. Traveling and experiencing things with a team is such a memorable moment. I have created countless memories with my teammates who I compete with. It’s amazing to think about how we have stuck with each other for years, pushing each other past limits we thought we couldn’t reach. Meeting new people is a huge part of competition and you get to form new relationships that can last for a lifetime.

The competition follows you everywhere. Whether that’s in sports, school, or just in everyday life. Competition isn’t just about winning or losing. You can get so much out of training and competing, and apply how it has affected you to real-life situations. Competition and the experiences that come with it will always be a part of me and is something I will always remember.

Minae Martin