If you ain’t first, you’re last

Why winning isn’t everything


graphic by Victoria Van

Story by Logan Diggs, staff writer

In the movie “Talladega Nights,” a star Nascar driver named Ricky Bobby has a horrific car accident mid-race. After this accident, Ricky’s life falls into a downward spiral, his wife divorces him, he loses his job, his best friend marries his wife, and if that wasn’t enough, he’s also forced to move in with his mom. At this point in the movie, Ricky definitely realizes the cold-hearted truth that life simply isn’t fair. However, Ricky’s father doesn’t believe that’s a good excuse to feel sorry for himself.

Ricky attempted racing again after the accident; however, he jumped out of the car panicking, insisting that he was on fire. Realizing that he was still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he lost all hope in being that star he used to be. That’s where the belief in the idea of “why even try, I know I’m not going to win” ties in. A lot of teens and adults constantly walk around with two ideas hanging over their head. They say, “I can’t do that” or “I would never pass that test or get first place in that race.” But, why not? Hope is one of the strongest things to have during tough times. Athletes and scholars all over the world are constantly pressed with competition and expectations. However, while most people think that competition would push one, that’s not always the situation.

Most people that end up crossing paths with true competition decide to just take a long way home instead of challenging themselves to be an overall better person. However, failure should be something that makes a person give 100 percent. Failure and time are two of the best teachers ever, they show one who they really are and what they stand for.  

For example, Michael Jordan, considered by millions to be the best basketball player of all time, got cut from varsity at his high school. However, Jordan didn’t stop and tell himself “I’m 5-foot-10-inches and that guy is 6-foot-7-inches, so he deserves it more.” He kept striving and chasing that goal of being a part of the National Basketball Association. By his junior year he was his high schools best player and by his senior year he was named McDonald’s All-American. Even if he had not accomplished all of these jaw-dropping achievements, he still gave 100 percent to turning his dreams into a reality.

No matter what it may be, one should give nothing less than their best.”

— Logan Diggs

No matter what it may be, one should give nothing less than their best. There is a great purpose behind trying even if you know your maybe not as smart or athletic as your competition. But, just sitting there feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to solve anything in life. Striving to be better today than you were yesterday is a great step towards improvement.

Of course, failure is terrifying to most people, but it is a key part in personal growth. When I was in the eighth grade, I was an extremely crucial part of the club swim team and was expected to lead them to another win at the Junior Olympics. Although, before my season had even started I decided to play basketball with some friends which led to me spraining my ankle badly. My father even thought it was broken for a few days.

Later that year, I wanted to quit swim because I thought I was never going to get better and couldn’t keep up with my friends. Going to what I thought was my last meet, I was walking in with a heavy heart expecting to let my supporters down. However, my perspective changed after my first race when my dad told me, “That was great, you were faster than last time.” That’s when it all clicked to me, that my main competition, every time I take a test or dive off a block, should be in between me and myself.

If I hadn’t gone through this struggle in my life, I don’t think I would have came to this conclusion: competition isn’t all always about what place you get, it’s about giving your all in everything you do in life and hoping to be better today than yesterday.