I need to correct you Vincent, you have made presumptions which are simply not true and I feel that I ought to set the record straight.
It actually was the above 'competitive photography' moment when I decided that I didn't really want to please anyone else, such as a judge. I was pleased to have sold a few pictures, albeit very cheaply, prior to this comment.
It gave me the motivation and courage to go out to make pictures which I like rather than trying to second guess what someone else will like. Yes, there have been a couple of occasions where I have tried to do the competent but clicheed shot. They are forever devoid of emotion, so I have stopped.
Thus I am effectively 'amateur' in that I take shots to please myself. I am very appreciative that others like them too and choose to put them on their walls. So I suppose I 'owe' that judge for saying what he did.
Furthermore I am able to enjoy my photography as I choose where to go and what to shoot. As for the sharing, as has been pointed out by others on this thread, different avenues exist.