I'm surprised to find myself ready to enter two fiction contests and contemplating a third. Up to now I have avoided contests, discouraged by picturing myself as a needle in a haystack. Then I realized that every submission to a potential publisher has dismal odds, and getting my work seen by an editor is good no matter what. Any unsolicited submission is, in effect, an entry in a fiction contest.
Of course I'm being careful to avoid scams, and would never pay an entrance fee unless it actually paid for a subscription to the sponsoring zine.
Regarding this third contest I'm considering, the question arises whether it's worth being a needle in that particular haystack. Since the contest has a theme and it's not inspiring me, I'd probably be offering myself as a dull, bent needle, lost before I even enter. To have any kind of a chance, the gladiator should at least stride into the arena waving a bright, shiny sense of self.