The Ultimate Competition

The ultimate competition is self-transcending. And the ultimate winning is mutual complementarity.

picture taken at Pratt Field, Amherst College, MA

I run in track all my life. I started to run for competition since in elementary school. At that time I enjoyed running, especially with a group of my peers. We ran collectively and accountably. Entering into middle school, running became less enjoyable even though with a
cohort of my classmates. Under the education system, the result of running was simply became an approval, which means numbers spoke all. Same scenario repeated again during high school, regardless of my participating in orienteering team which was less pressured to be verified. Schools taught me to run and compete in the eyes of others but did not teach me
how to run persistently by myself.

Running as one of the few things could make me feel truly alive, and it does not matter where I be, track has become a place I will always go back to. However, scenarios changed once I entered into college. It was a forever intermission. There were times that I could not even count how much tears I swallowed to my deepest ego, when I was all alone in track with
the only groaning echo of pine trees from the far end. My first summer of college in 2013, I tried to restart and train myself out of despair. Yet, I was miserable. I tried, I failed down, I rolled up my sleeves yet struggled on the ground, I screamed my heart out… All of a sudden, I was completely falling apart. Lack of motivation, consistency, companionship, support, incentives, confirmation, audience, acclamation, team, competition… and after all accountability. On a surface level or just as an excuse, I was dare trying to figure out my college life and it was not as a set-n-go to run everything smoothly at the beginning. Running
and exercise in general was no more my daily routine or priority. But in a deeper level, I was like a small boat on the ocean. Absurdly, I became even nostalgic about the time during middle school when I was almost like enslave to run for the sake of validation. I questioned
myself does my self-worth just depends on living in other people’ eyes?
Or if I took for granted on that accountability, as if one thing I could feel gratitude about.

Until the most recent two summers, I re-winded to pick up running again.

I plucked my courage at the starting line with firm determinations to overcome my greatest anxieties and ‘lack’ feelings. Track, where it used to hold my pride and not to just say itself as has reflected who I was, and yet shaped who I am today. This year, I finally full geared towards changing myself as well as following my true immutable passion to run with the sunrise every day durian the summer. I am thankful for my friends who had supported me to go through my own struggles and to fully recover from whatever I called PCSD (post-coalition stress disorder). Ultimately, what I was conquering with and trying to manage was my own discomfort of being myself, unconditionally. And what I learned from my experience is that the ultimate competition is self-transcending. Simply put, its means to manage and let go of the ego by all means aside from social constructs. And the ultimate winning is mutual complementarity, which means to be accountable through proactive cooperation and sustained efforts for the common good.

Leave a Reply