Greek life fuels both healthy, unhealthy competition

By Julianne Fullerton | Reporter

Greek life is a part of Baylor that unites much of the student population by inviting them to find a group of people they feel like they belong with. But permeating under the surface of Greek life lies a heart for competition.

Greek life consistently encourages competition between students, including the float competition in the fall, All-University Sing in the spring and intramurals all year, as organizations compete for the glory and esteem of becoming the winners for that year.

I’ve seen competition bring people together in miraculous ways, unifying them under the bond of wanting to win. It turns individuals into teammates, while unexpected leaders often rise to the top, rallying people together toward a common goal.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard countless stories about unsportsmanlike conduct during intramural games, negative criticism during Sing acts and even pieces of floats being stolen before the morning of the homecoming parade.

Competition is one of those two-sided things; it can either be done in a healthy way or an unhealthy way, depending on the participants involved and the mindset they have toward competition.

The drive to win is there. I’ll admit, I love when there’s a competitive edge and the stakes are high. It motivates me to try harder and put all my effort into achieving the best possible result.

The problem with competition comes when people risk tearing their opponents down in pursuit of victory, whether their opponents are aware of it or not.

But more important than winning or losing is the overarching opportunity we have to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves — Baylor traditions.

At Baylor, we are home to the oldest and largest collegiate homecoming parade in the nation. Since the parade’s start in 1909, students have the opportunity to represent their organizations in the parade. While the float competition does exist, it’s a way to demonstrate our Baylor pride, above all else, to the alumni who come back each year.

Sing, another Baylor tradition, has been kept alive since 1953. As easy as it may be to speculate on who the winners will be each year or criticize the acts, it’s important to take a step back and remember that you are criticizing the many unseen hours of hard work that were put in by students for students.

When competition takes over intramurals, they are no longer about games being played but rather points to be earned in pursuit of winning the glorious title of “intramural champion.”

However, win or lose, no one will look back on their college years and remember the exact number of wins or losses they had. They’ll look at the friendships they made, the obstacles they overcame, and the fun they had.

The next time you feel the urge to belittle your competition or compete in an unhealthy way, take a second to stop and think about how your participation is so much bigger than yourself. You are getting to play a part in Baylor traditions thousands of students all over the country would be grateful to have while leaving a legacy for future generations of students to come. Compete with that in mind.