I feel in truth is liberation, freedom, and there is a whole tapestry of truth.
How do we become more comfortable with besting another in competition? Excellent question. You become comfortable at besting another when you see the sacred in the “prize”. The totem represented by the symbol that marks victory was not as important as the change it marked in you.
I am still confused about the walk of the ascetic. Who are you besting then? You are besting yourself in the ascetic sport. The ascetic confront fear of themselves, fear of their limits. A small school of Buddhism practices baptism by combat, specifically mud wrestling. They get into a pit with a senior monk and struggle till they can no longer endure, then are allowed to leave in peace. Obtaining the prize is a rite of passage. Even a spiritual title or rank in your order is a prize, but you seek it for your own growth rather than public approval.
Virtue is in the prize so both the winner and loser are benefited by the challenge. And the loser also gets closer to the prize by seeing and learning from their defeat. I guess that’s why we see it as evil to lose on purpose. Exactly. You both seek to cross the same threshold, and like in a marathon, all eventually cross the finish line. It’s the only reason IQ tests are even seen as valid. If they are impossible to pass for everyone given time, then they aren’t an adequate gauge of anything.
It is a good experience to lose to someone you admire and challenges you. Losing to your mentor is faith building for the student. This is why spiritual debate is common in many of the oldest religions.
Enjoy your hockey match, or your violent video game, or whatever sport you embrace in your life. There is really no such thing as winning, because life has no ultimate end to achieve.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.