Location: Utah, USA
When my brother and I were just kids, my parents took us out to a family reunion in Utah. For us as kids, these reunions weren’t that fun. We liked our cousins and grandparents, but we also had to deal with the dozens of other extended family members we didn’t know pinching our cheeks and telling us how much we’d grown. Neither Ryan nor I was a big fan of this part of the trip and because of it, we made all efforts to stay away and play in the pool or just mess around the hotel. Exploring was good fun and we enjoyed the pool, that is until we found the El Dorado of all child’s play things, an alpine slide.
This twisting, turning mesh of metal tubes down the mountain was pure joy. I feel bad saying it now, but this part was definitely the best part of our family get together. As we rode up the chair lift, we could see two tracks. This mean that a race between my brother and I was now in the works, the laws of brotherhood basically demanded it. Being the younger brother I had a lot to prove, and being the older brother Ryan had his pride to hold on to, there was a lot at stake for both of us in this race. The bragging rights of winning this race would last at least the whole summer.
When we got to the top of the mountain we grabbed our karts and made sure to set ourselves up in line so that we would be able to go down the opposing tracks at the same time. Ryan and I positioned our karts at the top of the slides and waited for the signal. As soon as the signal came, we were off, racing down the mountain as fast as we could. I was so focused on my own track that I had no idea whether Ryan was ahead or behind. I hit the banking corners with peak precision (probably not actually). My little brother instincts were kicking in and the desire to beat Ryan at something was much greater than my concern for safety. As I rounded the last turn I couldn’t see Ryan anywhere and I started to get excited. I jumped off my kart and looked back up the track to a glorious sight. Ryan was stuck behind some random guy and his little daughter riding doubles.
Ryan hopped off his kart and immediately made the argument that it hadn’t been a fair race. I knew he was right, but I had still won and there was no way I was going to let him take that from me. He was furious as he turned back around to the father/daughter couple that had slowed him down. Immediately he softened up and started to stare. I looked as well to see what he was on about and noticed just as quickly. The slow guy that caused Ryan to lose was Sylvester Stallone.
When we see somebody else pulling ahead of us, it’s so easy to get mad at whatever we feel is slowing us down. But not being in first place doesn’t immediately make you a loser. Who really won on that day? Sure, I won the race, but what did that earn me? I’d like to say bragging rights for the day, but honestly, when we went back to our dad, whose story was better? I won first place on an alpine slide because of a technicality and my brother got second place and angry with Rambo.
Don’t get so upset at what you feel like is holding you back, take a second to understand your surroundings and realize that some of those things might be adding to the spice of life or at the very least, not worth getting angry over. If you’re patient, you might just find that second place is the perfect place to be.