It was my daughter’s 21st birthday yesterday. Certainly a very special time in her life. We normally have a very traditional birthday party with family, cake, ice cream, candles and the countless number of pictures of the birthday girl with family. In addition to the usual affair we try to provide a personal message. Turning 21, I really wanted to make my message different this year. Of course it had a sports element, I just can’t help myself, but it also went a lot deeper.

We all go through life having to compete. When we play sports competition is a natural part of the game and we embrace it. We prepare ourselves to be the best we can be and give it all we have. There is usually a very clear line between winning and second place. Sports is the easiest example of competition.

We compete in just about everything we do. My daughter, as a student, has to compete for her grades. If she wants A’s then she has to train (study) hard to get there. If the professor grades on a curve she is definitely competing against the others in her class.

We compete for jobs. We may not know who we are competing against, but we know there is competition. Always assume the next guy has studied hard for the job, dressed impeccably and has a great personality. That is your competition.

When we are single, we compete for the affection of others. We play video games and compete to win. Competing is in our DNA!

When we stop competing is when we need to look at ourselves and reassess. For those who are obese did they give up and stop competing against the scale? Did the homeless stop competing? Did those who divorce stop competing for the love and affection of their spouse? What causes us to finally throw in the towel and say enough is enough?

I am 55 and continue to compete in all facets of my life. I run to compete. I compete within myself to ensure I do the necessary things to be a good father and husband. I compete at work to ensure I stay relevant. I expect to compete throughout my life. The day I stop will be the day I take my last breath.

What I wanted to tell my daughter was turning 21 is an exciting milestone. You have competed and succeeded to get to where you are today. To continue to be successful you will continue to compete even when the sports are done and the education is complete.
Mike Haedrich
Mike Haedrich


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