"Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is." Vince Lombardi
I admit it. I got a little carried away. OK... a lot carried away. Swept up in the competition.
So swept up that I was logging on to unused computers in the newsroom one day just to pad my numbers. My executive producer caught me, asked me what I was doing, then laughed when I told him and said, "I'll go vote for you again."
Yes, I'm talking about the daddy blog contest. The contest that mercifully for everyone who I have pestered for votes over the last week and a half is now over.
My obsession started the moment I saw a fellow daddy blogger - a colleague who is now a stay-at-home dad and started to blog about it a few months ago - post something about the contest on Facebook.
From that moment it consumed me. Nevermind enter; I wanted to win.
I badgered everyone... family, friends, co-workers every day, even admitting to them how annoying I was being, but still insisting they vote. Every day. On multiple computers.
With two days left in the contest, my goal became clear. Realizing I wouldn't win, I decided which dads I didn't want to finish behind. And I made them my targets. I set an "ambitious" goal of 700 votes. I was at roughly 525. Nearly 48 hours later, impressed as I approached 800, I lamented to my wife, "Wow people must really love me... or I'm just a big pain in the a**." To which she replied, "Trust me... you're a pain in the a**."
I came in 12th place, with 822 votes. Not bad for a guy who publicizes his blog only to a few hundred people.
What does it mean? What do you get? People would ask me this repeatedly during the contest.
They're going to interview me and post it on http://www.circleofmoms.com/, picture and all.
But what else?
Bragging rights? Pride... but the good kind of pride. I'm talking about a feeling of accomplishment... while still trying to figure out exactly what I accomplished.
Bottom line... here's what I got out of it: Love. Gratitude. And, believe it or not, humility.
I felt a lot of love during this whole thing. Love from the loyal readers I know. Some of them helped me gather votes, telling their family and friends about the contest. Even love from people I've never met who were seeing my blog for the first time and feeling compelled to contact me and tell me how much they enjoyed it. How it touched them. One dad called me an inspiration. Me.
I'm thankful beyond words to all who supported me. This thing that didn't mean anything apparently meant something to me.
I also came out of this with an interesting lesson. You see, Penelope has this unhealthy obsession with winning. Go figure. She wants to beat us at things like finishing dinner and putting on our pajamas. Sometimes, I make sure to beat her just for good measure, even though in doing so I risk her having a meltdown.
I want her to win. I want her to want to win. But I want her to be gracious and humble in victory and defeat. And when you lose, tip your hat to your opponent for a job well done.
Don't give up. Keep pushing, Set goals. But realize you're not always going to come in first place. So now what's your goal?
That last night of voting, I sat there with the laptop... refreshing every 30 seconds...waiting to hit 800. I don't even know these other dads, have barely given their blogs even a passing glance (even though a lot of them appear to be very good). But they were the enemy. And I wanted to beat them.
More than that, I didn't want to lose to them.
Penelope is just like that. My goal is to keep that competitive fire burning, while hopefully guiding her on what's worth competing for.
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