When I was in the first grade, my teacher had a poster on the wall of our classroom she had made titled “King of the Mountain.” She wrote our names on little pieces of paper and placed them on this poster to illustrate our position in relationship to each other academically within the class. My thought is that this was supposed to act as some form of motivation for us to strive to reach the peak ourselves and that competition would motivate us to achieve more. As I at that point in my academic career adored school and was naturally very good at it, I spent nearly the entire year at the top. My classmates all the while teased and berated me until I’d break down and cry and have to hide in the coat room. I was finally dethroned one afternoon when coming back from recess it was noted that my name had been torn from the board and was wadded up on the floor in a ball. My teacher took down the poster that day.
To this day, competition makes me uncomfortable, and my successes tend to embarrass me.