Competition is Emotional

I was visiting with two friends recently, at different times, both of whom had “bad” shows and were feeling discouraged.

Then, around the same time, I saw an interview with Mike Krzyzewski, the coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball team. His comments made sense to me.

My friends and Coach Krzyzewski had something in common. They were experiencing a lot of emotion around results in competition, and that’s what this video is all about.

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Hi, it’s Barb,

I was visiting with two friends recently, at different times, both of whom had “bad” shows and were feeling discouraged.

Then, around the same time, I saw an interview with Mike Krzyzewski, the coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball team. His comments made sense to me.

If you’re a follower of college basketball, this is the season of March Madness, the final and most prestigious college basketball tournament of the year. Duke was one of the final four teams in the tournament. Another part of the story is that Mr. Krzyzewski planned to retire this year.

Mike is a legendary basketball coach. Of course, many wanted to see him end his career with a huge final win. But instead, they lost their game in the final four.

The coach was asked if he was emotional about their loss during a post-game interview. He said something like (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Competition by nature is emotional – winning or losing.”

There was something about that comment that was so poignant for me. It’s true. When we win, we are thrilled beyond thrilled, and when we fall short, it’s easy to be sad.

Now, let’s go back to my two friends who were feeling down because of poor results at the show.

One of them was devastated, and I know it’s taken her a while to get over her disappointment. The other friend felt similar – like she was a failure.

I understand. Believe me. I cried many tears of disappointment in the past, especially when I was training and showing a lot.

But now I know that whatever we put our heart into – when we go for it and try hard to achieve a specific result (as measured on the outside) – external results have nothing to do with who we are, and it only measures how we did that day in the arena – in that class.

That’s it. Nothing more.

It’s up to us to take the good and the not-so-good results and grow from them. Celebrate the victories, learn and grow – and if you love to compete – stay the course and keep going.

If you don’t love to compete, that’s fine too, and it’s not a competition for whether you’re a good person.

Give me a choice between an unkind person who’s a champion and a wonderful person who’s putting themselves out there – I’ll take the wonderful person every time.

If you compete, enjoy it for your reasons. Appreciate the blessings of horses and the striving. And know that no matter what results you have in the arena, your heart and character are your measures as a person.

Yes, there is emotion. That’s part of the agony and the ecstasy. Take the wonders of competition and run with it – and keep believing in yourself.

Give the sadness so long, and then move on.

Please leave a message for me!

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8 Comments on Competition is Emotional

  1. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 10th Apr 2022 1:45 pm
  2. Hi Barb, This is such an important audio on this subject of how we view ourselves whether “winning” or “losing”. It’s so understandable to be elated when all of the work culminates in a good show or a win, but probably the disappointment and how we learn from it, really is more character building in the long run. Such a counterintuitive concept. I’ve heard the great Reining trainer Andrea Fappani say that he really never likes to watch his winning runs, only those where he lost and wants to learn from them. –:) Thank you for always sharing a great “truth” on your Sunday video or audio. It means so much to us!!!

  3. Katrina on Sun, 10th Apr 2022 3:18 pm
  4. Perfect timing as always. Thank you for your consistent reminder of how to be true to ourself. I have never competed but I do feel the stress of it every time Raven and I “enter the arena”. I am learning health, behavior, training and riding all at once on every Ride. It’s been your steadfast wisdom that has grounded me and kept Raven and me in a healthy conversation. Thank you. Not a day goes by that I am not truly thankful for you and all that you do. 💜

  5. Jo on Sun, 10th Apr 2022 4:52 pm
  6. Hi Barb

    I’d like to say firstly how grateful I am for your daily words of encouragement. But, this podcast was particularly on point for me. I love (and need) sports psychology and the mental fitness aspect. However, lately I have been feeling that it’s not the whole dimension. So THANK YOU for this timely podcast. It really allowed me to give permission to and acknowledge the emotional energy that goes into my effort. I experienced a setback this year that brought out a lot of emotion. And I consider myself a laid back and not very competitive person! So I couldn’t really understand the “melt down” in myself. But I realised it was the trying and the effort that had burst out! Of course there always seems to be some toxic and critical people to add to the condirion. And while they are few sometimes the “only takes one bad apple” rule to have a tip over effect.

    Again Barb, I truly appreciate your daily emails and podcasts.

    Best wishes and kindest regards

  7. Kelly Scilingo on Sun, 10th Apr 2022 6:48 pm
  8. Competing is like a wonderful roller coaster ride.
    Sometimes the ride is so easy and feels like I’ve got this!
    When you’re down learn when you’re up rejoice!

  9. Onalee Corrigan on Sun, 10th Apr 2022 8:33 pm
  10. Hi, Barb
    Competition in the show ring is filled with emotion by all the competitors. Never have figured out how to maintain my own composure and not be impacted by others.

    My great sadness is leg problems, both legs, that have prevented me from riding at all for nearly a year. I do rejoice just being with my “guys” and caring for them. Riding has meant a lot to me. Horses are such good pals

  11. Barbara Hartwig on Sun, 10th Apr 2022 9:02 pm
  12. Thank you for the reminder to stay happy within our journey. David and I have both had trials and tests within our sports of choice for the last few month.
    Time for a new year and new attitude!

  13. Cindy Newell on Mon, 11th Apr 2022 6:47 am
  14. Thank you for this, Barb. The timing is perfect since I’m about to start my show season. Your training along with my good and bad experiences are shaping me and I like the person I’m becoming.

  15. Diane on Mon, 11th Apr 2022 8:09 am
  16. Thanks. Have a new horse that is a challenge for me. He is young and so much different from my previous rides. But yesterday in the practice pen, we accomplished some successful team work. Hopefully we’ll compete before too long

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