by Caren Crane
When my older daughter was about 3, I picked her up from daycare one day and found her in a frowny mood. This daughter has always, since birth, been moody and prone to deep thinking, so her 3-year-old frowning didn't concern me overmuch. I did, however, ask what was wrong. She pulled the finger she was sucking out of her mouth and said (very clearly), "There's too much competition."
Yes, friends, my preschooler had figured it all out. There is too much competition in the world. Some people love it, some hate it. Daughter dear despises it. Now that she is a sophomore in high school, she still avoids contests and competitions like the plague. She had to take the PSAT Wednesday and was in a twist about it Tuesday night.
On the other hand, my younger daughter stayed up late Tuesday night baking cookies until almost 11 o'clock. We let her do this on a school night because...she had to finish baking her entries for the NC State Fair baking competition. The exhibitors had to turn in their entries Wednesday morning. Her cookies turned out great and she is likely to place this year. Again. Like she has the two other years she competed. This daughter thrives on competition and the chance to let her talents shine.
As you will note from the sidebar, many of us Banditas have a competitive streak. We love (and hate) writing contests. Many of us compete in other areas, too. We have Banditas who have played instruments, played sports, competed in pageants and baked competitively. I'm sure there are other contests we have pursued in our lives and not yet discussed. What drives us to compete? Why haven't we decided there is "too much competition"?
For me, writing contests are a way to measure where my writing stacks up in comparison to other writers. I am not published, so I can't point to sales numbers or fan letters. Writing contests, flawed as they are, are a real chance for validation of the most important work I do. Contest finals also give me a bit of a boost - an impetus to keep going when things are hard and my stamina wears thin.
So, are you competitive or do you, like my older daughter, think there's "too much competition"? What sorts of contests have you undertaken? Any big wins or shows you would care to share?