Winning was relative for this brother and these sisters this past weekend at their first triathlon. As the only family relay team, relative was the key word for Tri Hergenrader Kids.
But…winning was also relative because they both won first place in the Bridgeland Kids Tri, and they also came in last place in the Bridgeland Kids Tri.
First of all, these kids totally believe they won first place. When the announcer called their names and they marched onto that podium, they were obnoxious in their pride. Fist-pumping, face-beaming, high-fiving pride. It was like they had just been awarded first place in LIFE by Jesus Himself.
For our little band of relatives and cheerleaders, (the kids, their parents, my dad, Uncle Todd, and Aunt Katie),  this was an unforgettable moment.
But only two relay teams competed in the race. And, if you click on that Tri Link, you’ll see there was something sketchy about the times. Elisabeth really did run half a mile in five minutes, so a big “YOU GO, GIRL!” to her.
The other team? Somehow it took the older runner SIXTEEN minutes to run half a mile? I’m guessing she did the mile-long course. Ditto on the swim. The team was older so they raced twice as far. But they were scored against our younger kids. So, oops.
We only realized this after our kids had accepted their FIRST PLACE medals. And then, M and I felt awkward about our kids beaming over a false victory. We tried to explain all this to them, but that moment on the podium was still looming large in their ever-expanding heads. They were busy working on their victory cheer; they really didn’t care about the finer points of scoring and times.
So, we’re going with the first place recognition around here.
All this has me reconsidering what winning really means, anyway.
Of course, for our little swimmer, runner, and biker, winning is black-and-white. Either they got the medals or they did not get the medals. They are winners or losers. No grey. No in-between.
But even though their medals were a bit bogus, they did a First Place job out there. So, for what really counts, effort and endurance and good attitude, they are First Place Winners.
Catie was the LAST SWIMMER in the pool, which meant she stood in the summer sun for over an hour, watching all the competition. She swam her little heart out, down the pool and back in her fastest time ever.
Sam also had a First Place Performance. He pedaled like he stole that bike. Except he wouldn’t have actually stolen this bike because it’s old and junky and about six sizes too small for him. (I know. Really awesome parents here.).
Elisabeth waited in the HOUSTON AUGUST sun for hours. Speaking of awesome parenting, we kind of forgot extra water for our little athletes, so they were wilting. BUT when it came her turn to run like the wind, SHE DID. She took off and ran as fast as her clunky, neon shoes would take her. It was a sight to behold, our skinny little girl smoking everyone. Although she did stop for some water, but that’s understandable after the drought we were having among our family.
Speaking of family, that’s what this race was all about. It was a FIRST PLACE WIN because the siblings worked together to accomplish a goal. They cheered each other on and worked together to win first place. Or second place.  Or last place.
Or whatever. The point is that winning is relative.
Actually, the point is that relative really is the key word since the lack of other family relay teams ensured our kids really felt like winners. With real-live medals and everything.

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