The word competition comes from the Latin, competere, which means (according to etymology online) to “strive in common, strive after something in company with or together,” or, in the classical Latin, “to meet or come together; agree or coincide; to be qualified.”
And… wow. That seems so much more expansive than how that word is normally used these days. To strive together. It isn’t an individual thing, and the outcome isn’t intended to be just an individual thing. It’s about us all pulling together to attain new heights.
There’s no better reminder of this, in a very literal way, than perhaps the feel-good moment of 2021 when Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi shared the gold medal at the Olympics:
What’s even better is that they are good friends. They’ve been competing for years. Striving together, pushing themselves and those around them to aim high and see what they can do. Sometimes one did better than the other, and vice versa. They had fun with it. They were competing to get fit together. And you can hear in the interviews above how excited they were for how well the entire field was jumping.
All culminating to that moment where they gifted to us such unbridled expressions of joy.