“Scavengers” on Vimeo
A “true” competition means people are willing to do whatever it takes, to use any and every opportunity at their disposal, to win.
The short film, Scavengers, prominently features the idea of sacrifice in a similar fashion. Although the protagonists are not in a competition, they’re driven to achieve their ultimate goal of discovering their past; the sacrifice of the local flora and fauna of the alien world is just a means to an end for them.
This is applicable to competition, with competitors determined to triumph over one another by any means necessary. Perhaps it is by playing in a “lame” way, by making use of underhanded tactics like stalling–or it may be through grit, training, and determination which nets someone a champion. Regardless, these all make up the spirit of competition, playing to win.
“Crispy Chango (Jigglypuff) vs Fauxhebro (Ice Climbers) | Top 8 | Battle of BC 3” from EndGameTV
Except, winning isn’t the spirit–it’s the fruits of one’s labor–just a result of one’s efforts. The heart of competition lies in the journey a competitor takes to become a champion. The journey demonstrates the growth of an individual, and creates intriguing narratives to be spoken about. It’s neither satisfying nor realistic for people to become victors, without first putting in the hard work to get there.
Take Hungrybox, for example, who is a professional Super Smash Bros. Melee champion. He started off as a villain of the game’s community. Why? Well, because he played a slow character who was, by design, an inherently contradictory character to the quick tempo of the game itself. Contrasted by his rival known as Mang0, a fast-paced player who is recognized as a hometown hero of the community. Despite the hate, Hungrybox faced from the community, he continued to hone his craft, eventually able to best his rival in tournament for the first time in 2013. By definition, Hungrybox is a competitor with both heart and spirit.
The burning desire to win brings players together and gives them something to fight for, a reason to live, alongside their basic needs of food and shelter. The shared values between competitors creates a community of shared experiences, allowing memorable events to be shared all around. The inspirational narratives stemming from each person’s journey are the reason why the “Five Gods of Melee” storyline is famous, or players like aMSa and Axe, who compete with the odds stacked against them and win.
Hungrybox’s narrative is but just one of many in the game’s community; every competitor has their own unique story. If books are like competitors with stories left untold until they’re cracked open, then Josh Spencer puts it best:
“It’s cool, you never know what to expect, it’s a treasure hunt, not just the books themselves but what’s inside.”