The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Competition Versus Participation …

My 8 year old, Otis, loves Rubik’s Cubes.


Not only that, he’s bloody good at them.

To give you an idea of how good, take a look at this …

I know he’s my son, but that’s pretty amazing.

Hell, even when he shows me how to do it – move by move – I fail, and yet he can do it blindfolded!!!

Now it’s not just him that loves cubing, it’s back in a big way. A whole subculture that is thriving and evolving.

From Youtube influencers like Cubehead – with almost a million followers on Youtube – to more types of cubes than you could ever imagine.

From heat activated.

To shape-shifting.

To digital screens.

To a whole host of customisable cubes in different sizes and shapes to increase performance for competitions … competitions, that are literally being held in every country around the world.

Hell, even Nike have just released a shoe in cube colours to connect to its growth.

This last point is particularly interesting to me because I see more and more sports brands moving away from ‘competition’ to promote participation in an attempt to connect to a generation who are walking away from physical sports.

Except they’re missing the point …

You see recently I took Otis to a speed-cubing completion in Auckland.

It was packed. Full of kids, parents and adults … all messing with cubes at different standards and speeds.

But while they were all supportive and encouraging to everyone around them, be under no mistake they were competitive. More than that, they wanted to be more competitive.

And here’s what the sports brands are getting wrong.

Kids aren’t afraid of competition, they just want to beat their own limits rather than loudly and publiclly trash someone else’s.

Of course there’s exceptions.

Of course there’s contexts and situations.

But they be in a much better position if they stopped promoting passive participation and got back to what they were always about … just understood the best victory is when you out-compete yourself.

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