There’s a greater prize than winning

Photo taken in Bangkok, Thailand

Getty Images/EyeEm

Photo taken in Bangkok, Thailand

When many think about partaking in a sport, whether that may be one associated with a school or a club, the original thought is competition, winning, and medals loosely hung around your neck. And although this is not necessarily wrong—yes, a large aspect of sports is about competing for an end prize such as a trophy, medal, banner, or even the title of a champion—that may not be the only point in playing a sport. There may be a more unseen reward when it comes to partaking in a sport, but what exactly is that? 

Looking back at all of the past years that I have spent partaking in volleyball, whether that may have been a tournament, game, practice, or team camp, no matter what the occasion may have been, every time I stepped onto the court, one thing was for certain: winning was not guaranteed. And as a little girl starting a sport for the first time, winning was not necessarily the first thing on my mind. As I grew more fond of the sport and carried on with playing, competition grew stronger, and winning became a more dominant and desirable factor. But the question in favor is, is winning the only positive aspect of sports, and if so, should it be? The simple answer is no. 

It is typically said that parents throw kids into sports to expose them to other similar-aged kids. With this being said, one of the major and true prizes that is gained primarily from playing a sport are the relationships. I have played on teams where we would walk out of tournaments undefeated and on the other hand, I have played on teams with a never-ending losing streak. If there is one thing that I have realized from experiencing both high wins and low losses, it is that winning is not the biggest prize, and sports are most definitely not always all about winning. No matter the outcome of a game, whether we may have walked away with an astonishing win or a terrible loss, we all either won or lost the game together.

Playing a sport has given me quite literally some of my closest friends both on and off of the court. Volleyball has given me an opportunity to be surrounded by some of my favorite people doing one of my favorite things, and no matter the outcome of a competition, this does not change. No matter how competitive it gets, no matter how important winning seems to be, the close relationships and bonds you build within a sport are the things that stick. 

The idea of winning in sports is obviously one that makes sports what they are, but the idea that winning is the biggest prize you can receive is something that is certainly controversial. Yes, winning a competition and walking away with a hardware is definitely a fulfilling experience, but it is not necessarily the only and or most important aspect of sports. It is not all about winning. The relationships you build within a sport will always outweigh the wins and losses, leaving you with the greatest prize you will ever receive.