Choir Notes

Winners Do Not Always Finish First
From Music and The Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4301

Winners do not always finish first. This observation seems contradictory—finishing first is what winning means. We are taught from early on that life’s winners are those who come out on top, who make the most money, who score the highest, jump the farthest, and run the fastest. Very often, to those with the so-called "winning attitude,” life is a fierce competition: everyone is a competitor, each person a threat, and in order for one person to win, everyone else must lose.

But this is not the only way to see the world. In some situations — in fact, most of the truly meaningful ones — we only truly win if we’ve helped someone else win too. All successful marriages, families, and even communities eventually understand this. Sometimes, young people seem to understand it better than we adults do.

Thirteen-year-old Spencer Zimmerman was an accomplished triathlete. But he decided that it wasn’t enough for him to win if he couldn’t help someone else win too. So for one triathlon, he brought along his friend Dayton, who has cerebral palsy. "He should have the opportunity to do and enjoy what everybody else does,” Spencer said.

Spencer swam 500 meters, biked 12 miles, and ran over 3 miles with Dayton either tethered behind him or in a stroller in front of him. "I knew that Dayton was five feet from me the whole time,” Spencer said. "It was awesome to know that one of my really good friends could be with me.”1

At a young age, Spencer and Dayton have already discovered some of life’s greatest secrets: Winning comes not just in competing but in caring; victory is more an act of selflessness than an act of supremacy. Strength is found not only in the strong but in a kindhearted approach to life. And winners do not always finish first.

1 In Mindy Raye Friedman, "Racing for Two,” New Era, Oct. 2011, 21, 22.

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