Competitive Nature

27 Oct
Hey Royals, more of this please (Giants must lose)...

Hey Royals, more of this please (Giants must lose)…

It’s October again, which would usually mean my hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals, are in the playoffs. While I prefer repping my red hat, hoodie and T-shirt this time of year, I’m going to cheer for the cross-state Royals in hopes they demolish the Giants (I’m not bitter).

The Giants played good baseball and knocked the Red Birds out of World Series contention…again. San Francisco did this to us before in 2012. Not since 1985 has the buzz in Kansas City been this loud about the chances of the Royals taking another championship. Honestly, I’ve never cared one way or the other about the Royals (sorry, K.C. peeps) because I grew up with a winning team (still not bitter). However, I just really don’t want the Giants to win.

October—and the World Series—brings with it the thrill of competition, which can be a great motivator. A year ago, baseball fans would have laughed you down the street if you’d mentioned the “Kansas City Royals” and “World Series” in the same sentence. But that team competed with some of the best in the league, making it to the big dance as a wild card pick (so did the Giants, but I need them to lose). They had to compete with the city’s memory of failed teams and then with a baseball fanbase who couldn’t find Kansas City on a map. But they made it because they have consistently challenged themselves to do better.

I never really considered myself that competitive. I didn’t play sports as a kid, which was how I always associated competition. I was, however, a good student. I wanted to get good grades, so in retrospect I was in competition with myself. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized it’s not so much winning that I want, I just don’t want to lose. For me, failure really is not an option.

That’s why when I tipped the scales at 200-plus pounds a few years ago, I knew something had to change. I was losing a battle with my health. Just like in school when I had to work hard to get my desired grade, I would have to work hard to get my desired weight.

Competition comes from challenging yourself to do better than the last time. Working out with friends and family can help you achieve that. Having someone hold you accountable to your goals and your past behavior will keep you on the right track. No one likes to hear about the many ways they’ve failed to do what they’ve set out to do.

Whether they knew it or not, my friends and family held me accountable to my own goals. When I was living in Atlanta, all I wanted was to move to New York. Every time I’d settled into complacency, I’d get a phone call from a loved one (particularly my dad) asking how my plans were going to get to New York. It was just the reminder I needed that I was still competing for my goals.

When I started on my weight-loss journey, I didn’t tell many people what I was doing. I didn’t want to be held accountable to something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish. But others notice the change before you do. When friends and family would comment on my progress, I began to see it myself. I started to wonder how far I could go. I began to compete with my past self. Two-hundred-pound Cicely wasn’t able to run three miles in 45 minutes, but 175-pound Cicely could. If a smaller Cicely could do that much, how much could an even smaller Cicely do?

Challenging myself to do more became not only important, but thrilling. I wanted to shape and mold myself into someone who could do more than she did before. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve fallen into the pit of self-sabotage once or 12 times. I’ve gotten defeated by not being able to do something I thought I was capable of doing. For that, I allowed myself a few moments of self pity. Then I began to find ways to achieve my goal.

The Kansas City Royals are now down 3-2 in a tough seven-game series. Last night’s loss had to sting. But the Royals are not out. They’ve got another chance to tie up the series tomorrow at home. It’s intense competition, but they will #BeRoyal as long as they challenge themselves to do better.

How do you compete with yourself to do better? Who are you rooting for in the World Series (not the Giants)?

UPDATE: Also, sadly, the St. Louis Cardinals lost outfielder Oscar Tavares in a car accident over the weekend. He was a great player and condolences to both his family and the family of his girlfriend, who also died in the crash.

Gif courtesy of Tumblr

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