Tag Archives: competition

Three Thousand Meter Run

I went to a private school that was kindergarten through eighth grade. Once a year there was a school wide track and field day. All the students from grade 4-8 would choose two events and everyone had their moments to experience the glory of competition. The most popular events drew the best athletes, I thought I could cheat the system and get a medal by choosing a fringe event. Instead of competing against fifty kids in the hundred meter dash or high jump, I chose the three thousand meter run against six kids.

I was in fourth grade at the time, making me ten years old. I was the youngest one in the race, the others were all thirteen or fourteen and had been running the three thousand for years. They dominated me. I was so slow and they were so far ahead and there was no way I could beat them. I forget how many laps we had to complete but it was a lot, and that was a long time to know that I’m going to be in dead last. I just put my head down and kept on running around the track.

After a while I heard cheering. I thought someone finally won and it would be over soon. I kept running. I heard more cheering. I kept running. More cheers. And then my name. I realized that the cheers were for me. My fellow fourth graders were cheering for me, rooting me on. They didn’t care that I was clearly losing. They just didn’t want me to give up. I can’t remember how long it took me to cross the finish line but I did it and I did it because of them. It was a great feeling. Like something out of a Disney sports movie. I never ran the three thousand again. I never needed to. I already did it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Walking Contest

A few years ago I went out to lunch with my roommate. We didn’t have any particular place in mind, so we started walking a few blocks towards the cluster of restaurants near our house. We walked past a few places, discussing and dismissing each potential place to eat. We reached the end of that stretch of restaurants and decided to keep walking to the next batch of restaurants a half-mile away. None of those places were satisfactory either, so we kept on walking. It was somewhere around this moment that our quest for lunch became an informal walking contest, and we both intended to win it. We walked and we walked and we walked some more. What was supposed to be a quick stroll for a bite to eat turned into an epic competition. We walked for two and half hours before we realized that we were both too proud to concede victory to each other. We gave up at the same time, and got a burrito to celebrate. And then we realized that we were a few miles from home and still had to walk back. That was the first and last time we ever had a walking contest. I would do it again, I would just make sure that I have a ride back.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Holding Your Breath Underwater

Humans are competitive creatures. We are constantly challenging each other in meaningless contests, like holding your breath underwater. I guarantee you that there are two kids staging a breath-holding contest in a pool somewhere right now. They count down from three, take a deep breath, plunge themselves underwater, trying to outlast the other person until somebody caves and breaks the surface to gasp for air. The best way to win this competition is to cheat. Take a deep breath, and pretend to start sliding under the water, but stay above the surface while the other guy goes down. Then you lounge around and enjoy the air in your lungs, while that goober is holding his breath underwater. You’re in the clear as long as his eyes are closed. Then when he starts to rise, you just dip your head underwater for a few seconds, then come up like you’re out of breath and act victorious. He’ll have no reason to suspect that you cheated if you do it right. Holding your breath underwater seems like a useless talent, but it can save your life if you ever experience a gas leak or have to use the bathroom after someone takes a shit.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Kenny vs. Spenny (TV show)

Kenny vs. Spenny was a Canadian comedy/reality show about two guys who challenge each other to a ridiculous contest each episode. They do everything from Who Can Stay Awake the Longest? to Who Can Drink More Beer? to Who Can Produce More Semen?… basically Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice made a show about all the stupid bets you made with your roommates in college, only they get paid for it.  Kenny is the creator of the show, and he has an outrageous personality. He has no problem with cheating and manipulating the crew if there’s a chance to win. Spencer is the straight man, he’s usually the victim of Kenny’s pranks, he plays by the rules, and he usually loses as a result of his integrity. The loser of each competition has to do something humiliating. The winner gets to gloat. You get to laugh your ass off at their hijinks. It’s a hilarious show and you can find most of the episodes on YouTube. It’s a great show to marathon through, and there’s no real continuity so you can jump around from season to season and just choose to watch whatever topics that appeal to you the most.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Paper Airplane Contest

I went to the bar after work the other day with a few coworkers/friends. The bar had a few pool tables and foosball tables, and they even had air hockey. We fooled around and played a few different games, and during one intense air hockey battle, a guy in our group made a crappy paper airplane out of a napkin and threw it to cause a distraction. He wanted to disrupt the game, and instead he inspired a new challenge. I proposed a paper airplane contest. Each person got an identical piece of paper and had five minutes to make a plane out of it. Then we went outside and found a random bar patron to be our judge. We had him count down and we heaved our planes off the bar balcony at his signal. Most of the planes didn’t soar that far, but some of them were impressively aerodynamic. The winning design flew pretty far and was declared the winner by a landslide. Some people would think of throwing paper from a balcony as a form of littering. I prefer to think of it as form of art. Either way, it’s a fun and easy bar challenge. And other people see you having fun and are inspired to try it as well. It’s a good way to break the ice and start talking to the group next to you. It’s a casual contest, but it gets more competitive if the loser has to buy the next round.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Olympic Trials

The 2012 Olympic Games are quickly approaching and the Olympic Trials have started. Athletes from all around the world are competing amongst each other for the chance to represent their country. Every athlete dreams of winning a gold medal, but before you get the chance to compete you have to qualify. Years and years of training and personal sacrifices depend on how well you perform… all the hardships you endured could be worth it, or you could have wasted your entire life.

I’m from America, so naturally I’ve been watching the U.S. Olympic Trials. I’ve only seen a handful of events like women’s field hockey, diving, and gymnastics. It’s not a lot of events, but it’s enough to start to catch Olympic fever. You start to hear the stories of the athletes and what they’ve gone through, both physically and mentally, to reach the point where they are now. I love when they show the parents and family members of athletes, seeing them laugh and cry with each success and setback. The drama is as real as it gets. You give up your life and your youth for the chance to compete and the slightest mistake can ruin your career.

Seeing an athlete overcome the fatigue and pressure and rise to the occasion and achieve their dream is inspirational. And it makes you feel lazy for sitting on the couch and watching a kid accomplish something that you will never experience. But good for him. I’m not bitter.

Watching a champion doing what he does is cool and all, but nothing is an inspiring as an athlete who falls down and gets right back up. It’s inspiring. It’s why people compete. You don’t have to get a medal to be a winner. The whole point of the Olympics is to represent your country and wear your colors with dignity, pride, and honor. If Cool Runnings taught us anything, it’s that losers can be heroes.

Making the Olympic team is like buying a lottery ticket. You can’t win the jackpot unless you buy a ticket and you can’t win the gold if you don’t qualify. And just because you qualify doesn’t mean you will win. I buy a lot of lottery tickets and I never won the jackpot. And a lot of people have qualified for the Olympics and never won a medal. I don’t know why I’m comparing a game of random luck to an event that relies on skill that occurs every four years, but I am. And you are reading it, so what does that say about you?

The Summer Games are way better than the Winter Games. No offense to all you bobsled fans.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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