Competition encourages participation, success

Sharon Kim, staff reporter

Ranging from competing for a spot on the basketball team to a simple game of rock-paper-scissors with friends, competition is a large factor in most student’s lives. Competition also exists at South, especially in the classroom setting, according to junior Saarah Bhaiji.

“In math class we just had a competition with a review game,” Bhaiji said. “There’s a first, second, and third place winner and whichever team could solve the math problem the fastest would run up and get the second math problem.”

Although Bhaiji and her team did not win the game, she believes that without having the extra credit to compete over, her classmates would not have participated.

“We would have been just screwing around with each other and just talking to each other instead of actually working on the competition,” Bhaiji said.

According to senior Katie Coy, she recently participated in a scholarship competition for the nursing program at Marquette University. She claims that the competition caused a large amount of stress for the participants.

“I don’t think [the competition] was fair because for one, we had no idea what we were going to be graded off of so we couldn’t even prepare for any of it,” Coy said. “It wasn’t anything based off of nursing, and it was random math questions.”

According to Bhaiji, she played for South’s junior varsity badminton team last year. She claims the competition on the team also included a lot of pressure.

“I think [the competition] made me more stressed because I felt like I always had to win,” Bhaiji said. “If I didn’t win, I felt like I wasn’t pleasing my coaches, or my coaches didn’t see me up to my full potential and it just kind of made me feel bad.”

Bhaiji believes that without the intense competition of having to be the best, she would be able to enjoy the sport more.

“Instead of having to win just so we can go to the finals, it would be better if we could just play our best and have fun on the court,” Bhaiji said.

According to Coy, there must be some kind of rivalry in order for a competition to be a true competition. However, she claims that while working as a golf caddy, she had witnessed friendships split over competitions.

“[The customers] have bets over money over who’s going to win and who isn’t,” Coy said. “Most of the time it’s just friendly competition in the sense that they lost a couple bucks and could gain it back later but other times, people get super angry and start cursing and don’t want to talk to each other.”

According to Coy, competition can be formed within families due to the pressure set from older siblings. Students are often subjected to following in the footsteps of older siblings despite their will.

“I’ve seen [the pressure] happen to my younger siblings,” Coy said. “My mom would be like ‘why don’t you go in for help,’ and ‘this is what Katie did.’”

Although competition can bring about stress, Bhaiji claims that it could encourage students to participate more.

“Competition really brings out the perseverance in kids and could really act as a benefactor,” Bhaiji said.