Finishing in second place is supposed to suck. There is a new commercial for the Samsung Galaxy phone that talks about just that. Here is what it says:
Nobody ever set their sights on second place. Who aspires to be almost remembered? There's a reason there are no giant foam fingers that say "We're number 3". No one wants to tell an average joke, make an underwhelming entrance, go out with a whimper. No one ever stood in front of a mirror with a hairbrush pretending to be the tambourine player. And there are definitely more kids dressed as Batman, than Robin. We all aspire…
So let’s talk about second place finishers... The US lost in the final of the Woman’s World Cup, and yet, they were cheered by the 8 fans that actually attend their games and they got go to movie premieres and appear on the Letterman show. I wonder what would have gotten if they actually won the tournament…a ride on the final space shuttle mission?
It just seems odd to me that they were so revered after finishing second. No person or team is ever given that kind of treatment for NOT winning. No one remembers who wins the silver medal…well maybe except for, um, what’s his name from um, that country…the guy that Michael Phelps beat by a fingernail in the Olympics? Yeah, I didn’t think you would know who that was. And I have $1,000 bucks that says you have no idea what his name was, but he was famous for a day when the underwater pictures came out showing Phelps fingertips touching .01 seconds ahead of him.
What if the 1980 US hockey team didn’t win the gold medal after beating Russia? Think it would have been such a big deal? In fact, most people don’t even know that beating the Russians didn’t win the US the gold medal. If they had lost the final game against Finland it was mathematically possible for the US team to finish 4th…with no medal at all. I think it became the top sports moment of twentieth century because they wound up with the gold medal. But if they had finished 4th…with no medal…no Mike Eruzione waving the whole team on the medal stand…think anyone would remember them then?
Can you name the last 5 Super Bowl and World Series winners? You probably can if you think hard enough. Packers, Saints, Steelers, Giants, Colts. Baseball is Giants, Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox and Cardinals. How about who they beat? Patriots losing to the Giants is easy because of the perfect season, Tyree’s catch…and, you know, the Giants actually winning…but the others are Steelers, Colts, Cardinals and Bears. Baseball…doubt anyone can get all these right…Rangers, Phillies, Rays, Rockies, and Tigers. I don’t even know if Derek Jeter would know.
Seems like the only time we care about someone in second place is when they are chasing the first place person. Roger Maris was hated and booed when he was about to break Babe Ruth’s record, yet we cheered on Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. We watched with fascination when Cal Ripken was chasing Lou Gehrig for most consecutive games played. Jack Nicklaus holds the golf record for most major tournaments won and there are various calculations and theories of whether Tiger Woods will or can break that record.
So I guess the old saying is true…winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Oh…and the swimmer guy was Milorad Cavic from Serbia. Now go win a bar bet with that info.