As I watched the Olympics, I enjoyed seeing representatives of the country I reside in receive Gold medals for their first place finishes. However, I was disheartened to hear statements, many times, such as the following, [paraphrasing] “He only got a Silver medal. He’ll have to wait four years to try it again,” “She only got a bronze. How disappointed she must be.”
To be one of the top athletes in your country, only to have a non-first place finish be labeled as “sad”, “disappointing”, and, even worse “losing”? Something is wrong with this picture. In the hours and days following many of the events, some of the mainstream media, bloggers and those on social networking sites, were also giving non-Gold medalists less than complimentary labels.
Granted – anyone who enters any type of competition would undoubtedly want to win; however, why does a “loser” label have to be given to those who don’t come in first place? I’m sure most have heard the sayings “Second place is the first loser” and, “Who remembers second place?” Very sad statements.
All I could think about as I heard the phrases repeated throughout the daily telecasts is how young children were interpreting the commentary they were hearing, and what effect it would have on them. If they entered a competition and didn’t come in first place would they strive to get better? Would they give up because they didn’t think they were good enough to ever be #1? Would they have resentment against those that surpassed them? Would they downplay their own accomplishments? What incentive does a child have – or, an adult, for that matter – to continue, if they are inundated with messages of “Nothing matters except winning”?
Too much emphasis is put on being ‘Number One’. It seems as if there is little to no credit given to those who have worked hard and achieved major accomplishments, unless they are considered #1 in their field. It doesn’t just consist in athletic competitions. The mentality extends to all professions.
When did a person’s achievements become worthless or non-noteworthy merely because they didn’t come in first place, or win an award? There is nothing wrong with celebrating and praising the victor – but, can’t we celebrate those who “gave to the best of their ability” and made it farther than most?
I have received many responses to many of the posts on this blog, thus far. However, may I request that you please reply in the comment section of the blog – as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. – so that all responses will be together. Your comment may be helpful to others who come across something that they can relate to. You can comment anonymously.
Thank you and many blessings.
You don’t have to be #1 to be proud of your accomplishments. Sometimes, just getting to the finish line makes you a winner. Check out the WINNER in the following video: