I Believe in Coming in Last

Seth - Westminster, Colorado
Entered on September 25, 2011
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: morality
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By most accounts, the average American does not know where common phrases in American pop culture today came to be. The phrase “Nice guys finish last” is a shortened phrase from a larger statement made by long time baseball great Leo Durocher whose full statement was “Take a look at them. They’re all nice guys, but they’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.” Clearly, he was not referring to what the phrase is commonly used for in today’s world which is now used to describe getting ahead in the overly competitive world of social class.

Growing up as a kid I was what someone would call, a late bloomer. I was never a good athlete at a young age so I didn’t run with the “jocks” of my age, I had yet to master the art of talking to girls, didn’t like going to the community swimming pool and in other words, not one of the cool kids. This small lack of athletic ability and boyish charm at a young age changed who I am now in more ways than just being able to wear my high school varsity letter jacket and have the occasional girlfriend. This dramatic change in my life instilled a belief in me that things outside of my control will always change, and the things I can control will be what define me. So what do I want for my definition when you look up Seth in the dictionary? The nice guy.

What is the nice guy? Maybe it’s the guy who opens the door. Maybe it’s the person who says good morning or remembers your birthday. Maybe it’s that person that makes a room full of strangers feel like family or just makes sure everyone gets their fair share. Maybe it’s the guy who stays home to do homework rather than go to that party down the street from him. Maybe it’s the guy who listens with his head in his skull rather than his pants. Maybe it’s the guy who stands up for the kids that can’t knowing it’s not the “cool” thing to do but the right thing to do. Maybe it’s that guy who sees the effects of the “cool kids” on others and vows to never cause that kind of embarrassment.

So what is the prize for being this nice guy; what do I get out of believing in these things? It’s not the invite to the big party, or winning homecoming royalty or even getting the girl in the end, no, it’s something much greater than that, finishing last. For as the wise Mr. Durocher says, “Nice guys. Finish last.”