I love to climb, and I love to compete. I have not missed a single climbing competition at my local climbing gym in over three years. The competitions in which I compete have three categories: beginner, advanced, expert (expert is the top division). There are no qualification standards for each division, it's entirely based on the honour system. When I first started competing I placed myself in the advanced category. In my first contest I placed seventh place. I quickly improved to fifth place, and by my third contest I had achieved the podium with a third place finish. I eventually reached a high of second place before noticing a disturbing trend.
From midway through my second year on, the better I got the worse I ranked. It seemed as though there were a number of climbers who, although much better than the vast majority of the competitors in the advanced division, were not willing to compete against the climbers in the expert division for fear of losing (even though they were scoring higher than a number of the competitors in the expert division anyways). I continued to see more and more egomaniacs stacking the middle division until I became fed up and decided to do something about it.
I felt that it was ridiculous to have climbers in their twenties with three or four years of experience competing against eleven year old kids who were just trying to have some fun and maybe win a prize. I packed up my own ego and entered into the expert category. The results were predictable - I finished at the bottom of the division for a number of months. Recently, however, I received my retribution.
In the last competition I once again entered myself in the expert (top) category. And once again a number of egomaniacs entered themselves in the advanced category. While I have not necessarily improved to the point where I deserved to win the division, there were so few competitors (two in fact) that I ended up taking first prize. The irony is that the second and third place competitors in the advanced category both achieved higher scores than I did, but have to settle with a less gold-like colour for their medal. That's why the Bible says "A man's pride shall bring him low, but honour shall uphold the humble" (Proverbs 29:23).
(DFM mad! DFM climb!!!)