Monday, August 23, 2010

Ultimate Competition

I have a confession. I have little to no competitive spirit.

I know, dear reader, I know. Those of you who know me are not surprised. I am not saying I don't like to win, because I do. I am also not saying that I don't want to be better or try to be better than others. Because I do.

What I am saying is that when push comes to shove, if you want something, you can have it.

Tonight I played Ultimate Frisbee with some dear friends. Now, I am not what you might call an athlete. But I love to play Ultimate. I am also not very good at Ultimate. My friends, however, are kind enough to let me play.

Tonight, my team did not do so well. Some were bothered by this more than others. I would put my level of concern at the bottom of the list. I was just happy they let me run around like an idiot with them for a while. The only thing that bothered me was that I knew that some on my team really wanted to win, and I could not make that happen (in fact, probably hampered that from happening). But win for me? Yeah, could not care less in the end.

As I drove away tonight, I began to think about this part of me. This part that does not seek, enjoy, or really participate in competition. I began to be a bit worried. In a year, I am wanting to go to Law School. I have heard it is one of the most competitive academic environments one can enter. Everyone will be striving, fighting, pushing for the top. And I began to get concerned that I did not have the competitive edge to make it through the next few years. And then I began to think about what I want to do with my degree.

My philosophy has always been, I will do what I do. If you don't like it, cool. Let's go have a beer, and let it slide.

But what I want to do with my life is fight injustice. What I want to do is free children from the clutches of evil people who would use and abuse them to gain power and wealth.

You can't let that slide. You can't just nod your head and move on from that. You have to have a competitive edge. You have to want to win.

But I think we're gonna be okay here. Because I thought some more about this competitive thing. And see, it is true that I really don't care if I win. But I care if those that I love win. I care if the good guys win. Tonight, my friend really wanted to win, and while I did not care and could not make it happen, I really wanted her to be able to win (again, sorry I could not make that happen my friend, perhaps next time shorter fields and shinier frisbees to hold my attention...just a thought).

I only care to win when there is a greater win in it than mine. If you want to win with all your heart, then I want you to win with all mine. I want to do what I can to help you win. I will spend my time and energy to make that happen, if I can. I am a borrower when it comes to competition.

So when I go to school next Fall, I will not be going for my win. If I do, I will be content to just do well and let others seek glory. I will be content to just be a pretty good lawyer. I will be content to sit back and let someone else get the connections and accolades needed to make an impact in the legal world.

No, my win will not work. I will go for those I wish to serve. I will go for the God I serve. I will go remembering that I want to win so that those I defend can have lives they never dreamed were possible, and that evil gets the swift kick to the crotch it deserves.

If that sounds cheesy, I am cool with that. If you think I am a fool for giving that all over and doing it for the glory of a "big idea" cause that may not be attainable, if you think "doing it for the children" is too cliche, that's cool.

Call me, we will go get a beer.


jenna said...

Sounds a lot like the gospel to me. To the world at the time it didn't look like Jesus won. But boy did he ever. He laid down his life for the ones he called his friends, for the world. You've got it right Johnboy, it's inspiring to see you running after it.

Kelley said...

John I love the line shorter field and shinier frisbee ;) You are a rockstar and even though you don't have a competitive spirit when it comes to games or other such things you do when it comes to injustice and that is what really matters.

sara said...

First, I have played cards and/or board games with you approximately 2,374 times throughout our lives. You do too like to win. You and Dad and your Monopoly empires...

Second, what you have described is the win that God wants us all to go for - just doing His work. You're gonna be great at whatever you do for His glory. You are even winning now, in a crappy job you don't like, because you are His person there, whether it feels like it or not. You will be a winner at the Ultimate Competition because you are pressing on to win the prize Paul talks about - the heck with the rest of it. You've got a great winning philosophy, little brother, and you care about what matters. So keep up the great work. :)

Anonymous said...

You've got it. True, you do not have a terribly competitive nature. UNLESS you think someone needs you to fight for them. I've seen you do that for your siblings, your friends, your YouthWorks teams. You have plenty of fighting spirit - just not much for things that could be worked out some other way. And that, my son, is balance and living the way Jesus told us to.

Sam said...

Can I argue with you so I can get the beer? I'd argue with just about anyone for beer...

And I'm with our sister on this one...I've seen you be competitive, but it's only when something actually matters, like justice, education, or freedom. So yeah...I think you'll be alright ;)