Recently I played in a table tennis tournament (which a few of you just read as “Lawrence is a dork”) and was asked if I would be interested in playing in a higher rated division. The reason for asking me if I would want to play in this better division was the tournament organizers felt that while I had a good chance of winning the lower division, the higher division would be more challenging for me and I would enjoy it more.
This reminded me of all the times I have seen youth soccer coaches put their teams in lower divisions of tournaments so they could leave with a championship and tell everyone how good they were. Or, they would have a choice of two tournaments to play in and would choose the easier tournament. The more difficult tournament might have helped the team become better by challenging them and helping them learn how good they really could be but by playing in the lesser tournament, they got to pad their record and feel good about themselves (although it always seemed it was the adults who felt more pride than the players).
Would you rather be the big fish in a small pond or a bigger fish in a huge pond? For some reason people frequently ask this question incorrectly. They ask would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. Competing against better competition allows you to become better yourself and while you might not be the best in the bigger arena, you do get to see where you really fit.
If we don’t challenge ourselves sometimes, who will?
By the way, I did choose to play in the higher division and lost in the quarterfinals. Oh well, maybe next year!
Have a great day!