Playing smash in a competitive environment is so much more than just a game. You can learn life lessons and life skills through this game and community. The only thing standing in the way of people understanding this is that you can only learn these things when you take the game very seriously (I mean dedicating hours every day or week to improve, not just playing on the side). Similar to how rich people play tennis for fun or health may not see the merits or understand the complexities of tennis, spectators or casual players might not understand why smash is such an amazing thing. If you actually indulge yourself in the game instead of playing it on the side for fun, then you will learn that there’s so much about not only the different perspectives, mentalities, strategies, habits, and other things opponents have, but there’s also so much you can learn about yourself.
Personally, I have only been playing for a little over a year but I learned a lot of good and bad things about myself through the game. I have noticed these things and instead of accepting these aspects of myself for what they were, I took initiative to change what I didn’t like, or improve on what I did like, and noticed I began using smash as a means for self-growth. It seems silly to use a game as a means of self-improvement, but as you get more accustomed with the game and with yourself, it begins to make a lot more sense.
What about smash makes it a good avenue for self-improvement? In the same sense that any fighting game can be used in this way, the answer doesn’t lie in the game so much as it lies in the things that revolve around the game. Competition brings out your true self and really tests a lot of aspects of yourself as not only a competitor, but as a person. You can’t predict how you would react to a big win, or a big loss, or feeling the stress of a high tense situation, or the anxiety of a big upcoming match until you’re in the situation yourself. Competition puts you in these situations that you can’t guess how you’ll act until you’re actually put in the situation yourself time and time again, and really lets you understand who you are. I usually consider myself a level-headed person, but after my first big loss I threw a bit of a fit and wouldn’t talk to anyone for a good hour. After reflecting on that situation, I realized just how little I knew about myself, and just how much smash can really bring out in a person.
Competition made me improve on a lot of myself, to name a few: Concentration, patience, work ethic, staying calm under pressure, self-criticism, self-image, self-trust, living in the present, replacing negative thinking with positive thinking, being humble, accepting failure, and so much more. The exciting thing is that as you get better at the game, these skills are required to a higher degree and you need to constantly push yourself not only in-game, but in these aspects as well. These skills that you learn playing smash can be applied to almost anything you do in life.
At some point, you might stop getting good at these life skills to help you get good at smash, and instead get good at smash to help you get good at these life skills. This is when competing in smash becomes so much more than just playing a game.