A broken keyboard, a red flag, and a VERY upset child, throwing a tantrum after an intense game of “hide and seek”. These are all results of a very serious condition plaguing modern sports, known to doctors as being “competitive”. If you’ve ever gotten upset at a loss, it’s likely you’ve also been described as “competitive”, but what exactly does that word mean? Oxford Dictionary states it as “having or displaying a strong desire to be more successful than others.” This alone doesn’t sound so bad, does it? The human drive to be successful is what pushes industry and builds nations. However, a strong desire often comes with an equally strong disappointment when the desire is not achieved. With this notion, it is easy to say that “raging” comes as naturally to competitors as the competition itself, but I would like to look at it in another light. By my definition, a true competitor defies these ideas.

Another key word to look at in this discussion is often seen as the counterpart to competitiveness. Sportsmanship, in Oxford’s words, is defined as “fair and generous behavior or treatment of others, especially in a sports contest.” Colloquially, sportsmanship and competitiveness have mutually exclusive connotations, such as openly being upset at a loss versus shaking hands and congratulating the victor. This is despite the fact that neither definition defies each other, which is why I would like to invite a new set of values to our use of the word “competitive”. Competitions, be they sports, esports, or board games, are incomplete without sportsmanship and mutual respect between contenders. Likewise, “competitive” is an insufficient way to describe someone who is not a sportsman.

My favorite streamers are the individuals who embody this spirit of competition. The ones who maintain their composure in unfair situations and embody the spirit of the game they love. The people who teach others to enjoy the finer aspects of the game and devote their time equally to the community as they do to their own strategy. These are the true competitors who push the game forward. So, to the readers of EasternMedia and competition fans as a whole, I issue a challenge: rethink your concept of “competitive” and use this word to describe those who truly personify the sportsmanship and ambition that make your sport great. Aspire to be competitive.