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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Medals: Why we love them

August 8th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena

Everybody loves to get medals because everybody loves to be best at something: Swimming, Diving, Rowing, Running, Jumping, Hurdling, Riding, Kicking, Dunking, Punching, Throwing, Serving, Digging, Batting, Vaulting, Balancing, Leaping, Cycling, Dancing, Singing, Strumming, Humming, or Whistling.

In the same way, everybody loves to get awards because it also means they’re be best at doing something: Starting, Founding, Investing, Inventing, Creating, Building, Programming, Designing, Testing, Manufacturing, Assembling, Integrating, Packaging, Selling, Leading, Teaching, or Winning.

Yes, it’s true: Everybody wants to be best at something, everybody wants to get a medal or an award, and yet it’s also true that not everybody can. Not everybody can be best, because the equation simply doesn’t allow for it.

And for those who cannot win awards or medals, they have two choices:

They can stand on the sidelines and observe the efforts of those who are crazy enough to attempt to win Best of Show; they can stand back and cheer on those who have that particular fire in the belly to try to win medals or award for being best at something, and that’s an okay choice.

But there is second choice, as well. That’s the choice to participate anyway, knowing full well that the participation will never produce a Good, Better, or Best; a Nobel, Kaufman, or Pulitzer; a Gold, Silver, or Bronze. This is the choice that says participation in the game is reward enough all on its own.

And for those who make this choice, for those who are willing and able to participate even though they know from the get-go that they are not going to be the best at Swimming, Rowing, Jumping, Riding, Serving, Vaulting, Leaping, Cycling, Singing, Whistling, Founding, Creating, Designing, Assembling, Selling, or Leading …

For those people, again the participating and the finishing is reward enough. For those people, being In the Show is as good as being Best of Show.

And happily, in this day and age, there are medals for those people as well. Because even for those who are just in there trying for trying’s sake, it’s still true that everybody loves getting a medal.


“Gold Medal Frog”
Darwin Wiggit/Photolibrary
Avanti Press, Inc. 2009


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