Competition No More Forever

Last Thursday night, sometime between 10 and 11 PM, I was running laps on the South Panola High School track in Batesville, Mississippi. As I circled around and around the artificial turf of the playing field of the South Panola Tigers, a high school football time that is always nationally ranked, and one that isn’t a stranger to being number one on the country, it came to me that I should write a blog about the team.

The field was dark, the track lit only by a few security lights. If you’ve ever been at that stadium for a game you can imagine how eerie it is to be there alone. My footfalls, though light, echoed off the empty bleachers. The only other sound was the calls of a pair of killdeer who were swooping and diving over the field, and occasionally the sound of distant traffic on the interstate over a mile away. I began trying to write the blog post in my head, but after a couple of laps I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere. When I finished running, I got my camera, and leaning against the goal post to get some stability for the near darkness long exposure, I took a picture of the scoreboard to illustrate the blog which wasn’t coming to me the way they normally do.

Friday, I went to Western Sizzlin for lunch. It’s a home cooking, buffet restaurant, that’s usually packed at lunch time. Last Friday was no exception. I picked a seat in the back corner, fired up my Kindle and began eating and reading. A minute or two later I looked up and noted the woman at the table in front of mine. At least, I noted the back of her T-shirt which was an advertisement for something. I never figured out what. Under the ad line, “I survived the SATP” were three words – “Outwit – Outplay – Outlast.” The three words pounded in my head, until I felt them twist what I thought I was going to write about an amazing high school football team into something quite different, something that is going to free up a lot of personal time for me. Instead of calling this post, The Amazing South Panola Tigers, I now call this blog, Competition No More Forever. I believe Chief Joseph wouldn’t be upset with my plagiarism of his words.

Here’s what has shifted for me. I have determined that competition no longer serves me. In fact, I’ve determined that competition has never served me. So I will compete no more forever. What that means is, I will no longer attempt to outwit, outplay, or outlast anyone. Nor am I interested in being a spectator at competitive events. That, by the way, is where the personal time just got freed up: no more Alabama football, or Braves baseball to take up my free time. I’ll convert the time I’ve been spending in those pursuits to writing.

Understand, I will work on improving myself in everything I allocate my time to, which is the innate objective of every human being. That being true, it stands to reason, that we’re each here to be the best that we can be and help everyone who requests help to achieve that objective.

I will compete no more forever.

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