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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Room For Seconds?

March 1, 2014

Happy first of March everybody.  And, yes, I know that it seems incredibly odd for me to be doing a diary entry on a Saturday of all days.  But then again, this isn't your typical diary entry either.

You see, I have something that I want to say.  Don't worry.  It's nothing bad like shutting this blog down or anything serious.  I plan on keeping this blog going for as long as all of you are interested in reading my words.  But this is a piece that talks about the subject of disappointments and how one copes with it as best as he or she can.  And, hey, I think that I can throw in a pop culture related item here and know...gotta keep this relevant.

Okay, so here's the story straight from the horse's mouth...although I should state that I am not a horse, nor do I know how to speak horse.

Quite recently, a potential opportunity came my way that I absolutely wanted to take.  It was an opportunity through my workplace that had I been selected to participate in would have been an excellent opportunity.  You see, my workplace has a particular event that is held each summer that allows people from all over the world to meet up at what could best be described as part convention/part business meeting/part rock concert and all fun.  Seriously, it is absolutely a once in a lifetime experience.

(I mean it's an event that is so exclusive that you can go once and only once!)

It's an event that I've tried to go to for the last three years now...and unfortunately, for the last three years, I came so close, but so far.  But that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.  Sometimes the stars align in such a way that first place isn't always the end result and sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and accept the second place ribbon.  In this case, I have done that, and I'm sure that the people who are lucky enough to attend the event will have a good time.

But here's where that great big "BUT" comes in.  And, I'm not talking about Kim Kardashian's ba-donka-donk.

(Did I just really use the word ba-donka-donk in a sentence?  Have I even spelled ba-donka-donk correctly? I must really be losing it today.)

Yes, I have accepted the fact that the future for me at this moment involves a fancy velvet sash that says "FIRST RUNNER-UP".  And, there's certainly no shame in that at all.  I mean, Clay Aiken certainly used his second place status on "American Idol" to become a hitmaker...well, at least he did for a three-year-period anyway.  I definitely don't think that Tessa Virtue and David Moir consider themselves any less of themselves because they ended up winning a silver medal for ice dancing instead of the gold during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.  And, just because a team loses the Super Bowl one year doesn't mean that they won't have another chance to try again and win the year after. 

But, admittedly there is a part of me that openly admits that coming in second place is simultaneously not a good feeling.  I mean let's face it...most people can probably remember the name of the man who won the first season of "Survivor" - Richard Hatch.  But ask them who was the runner-up, and they probably couldn't tell you.

(It was Kelly Wiglesworth, by the way.)

And, I suppose that in a way, I kind of feel like one of those people that is always getting the runner-up title, but never comes out on top.  I mean, things happen for a reason, and I have come to terms with that...but still, who ever goes to a sporting match with those foam fingers shouting "WE'RE #2!  WE'RE #2!"? 

So, I guess that I'm trying to think of instances in which coming in second isn't such a bad thing.  But, admittedly it's hard to do when society seems to focus only on winners.

And, well...the only example of second place finishes becoming an asset comes from a fictional story that I found in an Archie comic.  But it's a very good example.

The story set-up is like this.  There's some sort of track meet going on where all the schools in the district are competing for the championship.  The way the meet is scored, they offer a series of points for each first place, second place, and third place finish, and at the end of the day, the school with the most points wins the meet.

Well, naturally, Riverdale High's star athletes in Reggie and Moose did get a couple of first place finishes, but everyone else was not up to par, and didn't even place at all.

And, poor Archie Andrews was the kind of person who could never get first.  In fact, in every single event he participated in, he always came in second.  It grew to be his own personal motto.  Always second place, never the winner.  And, certainly Archie's team didn't offer him any sort of support or sympathy.  Reggie, Moose, even Coach Kleats seemed to get constantly annoyed with Archie's runner-up status, and poor Archie was getting frustrated and upset with himself.

That is, until Dilton Doiley pointed out something ingenious.  You see, Dilton is quite the genius, and one of his many talents is statistical analysis.  And, Dilton discovered that most of the schools in the district had a couple of first place finishes, plus several thirds and fourths.  But Archie always managed to get second place in every event. 

And, Archie's second place finishes boosted Riverdale High's overall points total...and by the end of the meet, all those second place finishes helped Riverdale win the whole meet!

Yes, Archie became a hero that day...and on that day, being the runner-up was the best thing that happened to him.

And, well...I guess I have to tell myself that coming in second can be a good thing.  And, I guess if there's anything to learn from all of this, it's that sometimes second-best can be fantastic.

And, I guess this song kind of reminds me of that fact.

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