I wasn’t supposed to be in first place. I’d never been in first place that late in a cross-country race. Perhaps I’d never been in first place in a race at all. But there I was, suddenly in the lead, with just a mile or so to run, and I wasn’t tired or struggling. No, I ran in a way that can only be described as triumphant. I had a burst in my step, an assertion in my stride.
So. well. said. You articulate truths that resonate. One of my recollections while reading this was that once upon a time when I watched the earliest few seasons of 'Survivor' my choices for the winners all came in second. They were slightly less ruthless and more self-aware, and I began to think of 'second place' as the 'true winner' because their moral compass was working better than the first-place finisher.
What we truly need in this society is more people being lauded for their 'winning' attributes that are worthy of attention, publication, and prizes. We need a collaborative model wherein each person is praised for their efforts, process, promise, product, instead of an elimination model that finds 'one' top-best-above-the-rest. Exclusion sucks.
Inclusive narrative awards written about participants in a competition will place the burden on judges instead of focusing our attention on the ways in which people 'lack' what it takes to meet the judges' standards.
Reading this made me realize that I've migrated to not keeping score. Place, to me, matters not. Not at 62. My company posts a "Leader Board" for sales success and I've never looked at it; not once. How I rate does so little to boost happiness or any other metric that matters to me.
I'm a big pickleball player but I have no interest in tournaments. All my friends can't believe it but it just doesn't appeal. I've stayed competitive and will fight to win a game with the best of them. But it's the game itself, not my place.
But I know it does to you, Grant, and probably to most others. (It's so American) I'm reminded of your piece on your "steps" goal. So good, I guess we are all different.