Don’t let competition ruin life; keep it fun

Kids playing soccer in the park, small girls singing their hearts out at beauty pageants and a hopeful mother of three calling into a radio station to win a prize for her children are all manifestations of competition in our world.Our society encourages a little healthy competition to give us something to strive for; however, competition can go from normal to unhealthy when a soccer mom verbally abuses a referee for a bad call, when a pageant princess is chastised by her mother for hitting the wrong pitch or when that mother of three loses her life because of a ridiculous contest.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jennifer Strange called in to participate in a contest promoted as “Hold Your Wee for a Wii.” KDND 107.9 FM The End in Sacramento hosted the contest, in which contestants drank as many bottles of water as they could in a three-hour period. Whoever went the longest without using the restroom would walk home with a coveted Nintendo Wii game system. However bizarre the contest seemed, the radio station managed to find people willing to burst their bladders for the new, rare console.

After losing the contest, Strange went home complaining to one her coworkers that she did not feel well. That was the last time they heard from the young mother until she was found in her home dead from water poisoning, according to the autopsy.

The Dallas Morning News reported another contestant death in East Texas. Patterson Nissan, of Longview, held a regular contest called “Hands on a Hard Body,” in which contestants put their hand on a truck and whoever held on the longest won a new Nissan. One man, after having lost the contest, dragged his sleep-deprived body into the nearest store, stole a shotgun and committed suicide. Ridiculous contests such as these leave losers in an unhealthy state, both physically and mentally.

Gone are the days when a little friendly competition was fun.

It seems in this world you are either a winner or a loser. According to the European Molecular Biology Organization, many athletes inject the hormone erythropoietin to enhance their performance illegally. Major League Baseball players are punished for using steroids to boost their batting averages. Competitiveness causes these competitors to endanger their bodies and their careers. It is just a game. Is it worth it all to lose it all?

Since when did winning become a life or death matter?

Strange and the man who killed himself lost a great deal more than just a game system and a new truck. They lost their lives; they lost everything they had made for themselves.

Most believe one must work hard to become a winner. I am sure those two worked as hard as they could to have a wonderful family and a life worth living. These people were winners before they participated in these contests. Now they have become the biggest losers because they have lost everything.

It is pretty ridiculous when, in order to win, you have to lose.

Hayley Freeman is a freshman English major from Fort Worth.