My day in the sun had arrived – my magnum opus would be revealed. I had just delivered a memorized speech that I had labored over for weeks, and I was about to learn how the panel judged my performance. The polite but sparse audience leaned forward in their folding chairs. A hush fell across the room. The drum rolled (in my mind, anyway).
The contest organizer announced the third-place winner. Alas, the name was not mine. Then he read the second-place winner, and once again it was not me. At last, the moment of truth came. Either I was about to bask in the warmth of victory or rue the last several months spent preparing. While neither of these came to pass, my heart felt closer to the latter.
Losing is a part of life, and I have dealt with the emotional baggage that travels shotgun with it on more than one occasion.
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