Participation Just As Important As Outcome

Somebody has to be second.

Majority of people want to be first. There are exceptions, and some really don’t care. They have no concern one way or another. Just “getting by” is sufficient. There are   advantages to such attitudes. Yet, if everybody was always satisfied being equal, as we’ve mentioned before, the world would be one of mediocrity, and no  advancement.

It’s not that way. Many people want to be winners. However, when one gets ahead of another, there is somebody in second and on down the line, depending on the number competing. Again, this point came to mind while judging a recent horse show in Claremore, Oklahoma, home of the original cowboy-philosopher Will Rogers.

When somebody comes to a horse show, again perhaps with an occasional exception, they want to win a prize. Entries are made, class is called, and contestants perform, with outcome dependent on how the paid-judge critiques their presentation. It is a   prejudicial decision, but the system is to rank individuals best to not as good as we see them.

As we have heard a couple of dairy exhibitors talk about at national shows with several dozen cows in a class, it’s almost as if one has to jump up and down and holler to be seen. Not far dissimilar is a horse class with two dozen entries.

Time is of essence in these situations, as well, because with more than 100 classes in a day, logistics require us not take too long in each one. We always try to diligently  critically assess every entry a number of times and then mark our card.

All participants are on the edge of their saddles, so to speak, as the placings are announced. First place is always jubilant, and even those who get their name announced and the crowd applauses have a feeling of accomplishment and pride. However, the remaining ones who “participated”often have a defeated reaction.

That is understandable, but should be put into perspective. They tried and must be   ahead of those who didn’t even enter. Moreover, only one can win, and just a   percentage are even recognized. That’s what competition has always been and   forever will be.

When those hard-trying contestants approach us after not getting their name called, we congratulate them on entering and encouragingly evaluate their performance. It
is pointed out  that somebody has to be first, and everybody else must rank on down the line. We note it’s our opinion, and we might even insinuate they were close to placing.

Thus, we think of Colossians 3:12: “Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.” Then we’re reminded of Mark 9:35: “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” Most important is First Corinthians 1:9: “God is faithful; by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”