The problem with having winners and losers isn’t that there are winners and losers. It’s that we fail to respect and acknowledge all the different ways that victory and failure can play out while still taking seriously the specific conditions of a particular individual or group in relation to a particular sport, game, practice, or circumstance that can be won or lost. To hate competition is selfish. It means caring only about what one can do or can imagine doing, and refusing to take a broader look at the massive variety of talent that coarses through the collective veins of humanity. It’s the opposite of collaboration.
Instead, we ought to find and create paths that match our individual talents but that do not subsume them, that give them room to grow, and that let them develop into new forms still, not just sport or science, not just individual achievement or collaboration. As for sport, as for games, let us compete. Let us subject ourselves to the stupid caprice of structures and rules we didn’t invent, for they are one of the best places to practice the contingency and folly of really real reality. Let us feel their weight as invitation rather than oppression. Those who do so in earnest are far more likely to have a perspective from which they can empathize with others, whose talents lie elsewhere.
— Very provocative and useful post by Ian, which is not well summarized in these two paragraphs, but these two resonate most strongly with some things I’ve been considering lately. Whole thing is well worth reading: Ian Bogost - In Defense of Competition