Monday, August 04, 2003

A little bit of quiet time allows for self reflection. This weekend during my recovery from a triathlon, I found myself suddenly jealous of a dear friend and training buddy. She had placed better in her category than I had. She, being the self-effacing person that she is, didn't even think to check her placement. Like me, she judged her race by times she had pre-determined and by how she felt during the race (tactical and preparation notes that she could work on next time). When her name was called at the awards ceremony, she was as surprised as we were.

I was thrilled for her when I heard, but as the afternoon wore on, I began to recognize my jealousy at her accomplishment - especially because of the attention and notoriety that it brought upon her within our group and people that she knew at the race. I began wishing that I had placed at least as well as her. After all, I had been training with her and actually had a better time than her overall. The fact that we are in different age categories (and gender categories) slipped by me at the time. Also escaping me was the amount of extra training that she does on her own and with others, and the intensity she trains at. Nevermind that she is also has the gift of being a natural athlete, succeeding at more than two handfuls of sports she's tried.

That afternoon I found myself being jealous of others, too (for different reasons, of course but the taste it left in my mouth was just as bitter). I know jealousy isn't becoming. It's an emotion that I want to control, perhaps even banish, from my consciousness. As afternoon eclipsed into evening, I was able to shake off the longing for the limelight and feel some genuine joy at her success. I hope I didn't come across as a party poop and wreck her moment - she's a coach and a teacher and as such, has to step back into the wings regularly as her proteges shine. She's good at dealing with others achievements with grace. I wish I was.

I'll work on it.

The more I think about it, the more I think that competitiveness stems from the basic emotion of jealousy. I don't know if competitiveness is something that I want to foster in myself because of that.

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