Is Competition Wrong?

Is competition against love? Essentially, if I play a game or sport desiring to win (a zero-sum game, say), then is this against love? It would seem to not be putting the ones I am playing against above myself if I am trying to win.
Then again, one could say that, since it is just a game, it is not about pride or vain glory or putting others down. But is this really true?
I know one of the very fond memories of my childhood is playing (board) games at my grandmother’s house with her.
But is this simply worldliness?
Thank you for your input. Past threads give me mixed messages.

Competition is good and healthy.

If it’s handled civilly, (being good winners and good losers), and ethically, (no lying, cheating, stealing, or other cutthroat behavior), competition is not a sin.


Without competition, we’d still be a mud hut society.

What is wrong is treating EVERYTHING like it’s a competition.

It depends on why you are competing. If you are competing as a means of testing the development of your own discipline and skill or as a means to encourage others to grow it is healthy. If you are competing for a prize that you humbly accept it is practical. If you are competing to fuel your ego and show off that you are better than your competitors then it is probably a sin of pride/vanity like you said, or even envy if you are jealous of others’ abilities and prizes.

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Catholic teaching on Sports:

St.John Paul II on Sports:

My favorite quote on Sports by Pope Pius XII:
“Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole man, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth and helps man to achieve that end to which all others must be subservient, the service and praise of his Creator.”

Also I love 2 Timothy
{2:5} Then, too, whoever strives in a competition is not crowned, unless he has competed lawfully.


Interesting choice of words, zero-sum game. Because most competitions aren’t zero sum. Even the losers get something out of them. Think about it, when you play and lose, do you regret it?

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True, it’s not all about winning. Also as Pope Pius says we have to be a generous loser. When we lose we should give credit to the winning team.

If I were to lose to you, I would gain from the experience - having played against a superior. You honor me with your valor. You lift me up.

We must see competition from God’s eye. We reach for him and lift each other up.

Sportsman honor their opponents. We seek the same goal.

Some of us are farther ahead than others.

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It’s not for games and sports.

Like with many things, competition is healthy in the right context and the right balance! And in other contexts or when imbalanced, can be unhealthy.

So I’m afraid the truth is a “mixed message” here. Haha. Maybe pray for prudence and understanding on this topic?

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If competition is wrong, better cancel the Olympics. And of course the NFL. All competing smartphones should simply defer to Apple. Arby’s should defer to McDonalds.

I guess one would first need to define competition. Athletic or interpersonal or …?

Maybe… just a little…

In my opinion, competition in sport is almost always for two reasons:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Health
    As long as you don’t intend any harm on your opponents and play the sport within the rules and boundaries, there is nothing sinful about sport. Both you and your opponent are playing the game for similar reasons, so it is not putting yourself above others. I know Conor McGregor isn’t always a good example, but a quote of his I always remember is “Humble in victory, humble in defeat.”

Well… suppose you simply do your best at something just to see how ‘good’ you are… … ?
In training for anything … the less accomplished learn from the more.

And compare healthy and mutually enjoyable competion against the Sins of e.g., Abortion…

which is worse… ?


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