Thursday, April 23, 2009

Have We Become A Nation of Sore Losers?

This week a woman from the town right across the big bridge from me was crowned Miss USA. Ironically my husband was watching while I was in the other room watching hockey playoffs (wait, young beautiful women in bathing suits and evening wear, maybe not sooo ironic). I have become pretty good at calling pageants over the last few years and picked her out as definitely making the top 5 if not taking it all. My husband picked 4th runner-up Miss Utah to win.

Anyhow, no sooner had Kristen Dalton accepted her crown than first runner-up Miss California gone to the press to claim that by her saying she was against same-sex marriage she lost the crown. Wait, how exactly does she know that? Don't the contestants have no idea where they stand when they answer the notorious interview questions? Couldn't someone else have given a different answer to the same question and still lost?

Could her answer be the reason she was first-runner-up and not Miss USA? Sure, but, can we be certain? No, we can't. Remember the five finalists each randomly picked a question out of the hat. There are more than five judges. What if she had lost and that question not have been asked? What would her reasoning have been then?

We are a nation of competitors. We all want to be the best. There is nothing wrong with that. However we must always remember that we cannot win at everything. Miss California answered the question honestly and that indicated she did not feel as though she would be judged down for doing so. Why, then, afterward, did she feel the need afterward to say that she was robbed of the crown for her honesty? I can't answer that. But what I do know is this, there are 51 contestants for Miss USA (50 states and the District of Columbia) and only one is crowned the winner. The first runner-up is instated if Miss USA cannot perform her duties for any reason (including going on to win Miss Universe). There are 49 other contestants behind that first runner-up who would love to be in her shoes.

I want to raise my children in an environment where yes, they are urged to try their hardest and do their best, but also to realize that winning should never come at any cost and that there is a way to not win and be gracious about it. I don't necessarily believe we should always give a trophy to every kid. I do believe we should award outstanding achievement. But when we feel we have to make excuses or put our reason for not winning on someone else, something is wrong. Yes, cheaters should be exposed, but the winner of this competition did not cheat. And as viewers from television, we can't say for certain that every judge scored this contestant down? Like I said, if they did or didn't we can hardly prove. Miss California felt she should have won, no doubt, but so did 49 other women, many of whom didn't get the chance to put their hand in the fishbowl.

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