Second Place?

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I spotted this on the ground near the high school track during my run last night. I’d have loved to know its back story. Was this second place ribbon discarded in disappointment because a first place finish was the only acceptable result? Was this ribbon accidentally dropped and someone was now upset and missing it? Or did this second place finisher just run a race for fun without caring about an award? Or did he or she have so many ribbons and accomplishments already that one more wasn’t that special?

I don’t know why this discarded ribbon fascinated me so much, but possible explanations for it flooded my brain for the remainder of my run. Maybe it’s because I’m a coach’s kid and was brought up in competitive sports. I’ve seen and experienced soooo many reactions to wins, losses…ranging from elation to despair.

Then again, maybe it’s because I’ve seen another side of sports as an adult. As runner who participates with more joy than skill, I’m ALL about awards at the finish. I want that finisher’s medal before I want water or bananas. But I NEVER have an expectation of a high finish. I’m happy to be in the top 50%. Heck, the only time I recorded a first place finish was when the organizers lost my age and posted my result in the Zero-Year Old category. There was no medal (and no one else in my age group), but I still milked the bragging rights. So I can’t fathom casually or angrily discarding a second place ribbon.

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