I have never won anything in my life. And I mean like, anything.
Not only have I failed to win the lottery, or Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, but I have never won more than $10 on a scratch-off.
It isn’t just luck games like that either. I can count, without removing a shoe, the number of sporting events I’ve won. I’ve never achieved a place in the playoffs, let alone won the championship, ever. Hell, I have only three times since I entered High School even rooted for a championship winning team, and two of those were the same franchise!
I had a hard time beating only one other person for a starting position on JV sports teams, twice.
It is not just athletics either. I have never been in, placed, competed, or won any sort of academic or creative competition either. One time in college I was given ‘honorable mention’ for studio awards, wonderful, fourth best out of 15.
I did receive scholarships, but not the highest level ones. I did receive recognition from teachers/ professors, but was never best in class. Hell, even in grad school when I was the only student in a direct study class, I had to fight for an A-, hardest class I ever took.
I have never beaten my friends at any multiplayer video game. I’ve never won a drinking game.
In bands, I have played in a handful of battles. Always done well, always told we outperformed expectations, never won.
I’ve never been ‘caller x’ or whatever on a radio show. I’ve never won a raffle. I’ve never won a prize I was paying for in a silent auction.
I have never ‘been to the mountain top’ or felt extreme elation from hearing my name called, either randomly or through my efforts.
The biggest win in my life came in the summer of 2014 at a now annual Labor Day cookoff. It was determined that my chicken was the best. But I know I only won because my cousin cooked two different foods that split the vote. A win is not always a win. Plus, we all got the same prize basket. This year, I lost; second place out of two.
I’ve heard thousands of times how smart or articulate I am. I’ve heard I’m a good writer, a good reader, a good student. I’ve heard I have a talent for music, for design. I’ve been told I am athletic, or was, at least. I’ve been asked to teach, to tutor, to speak, to lecture, to critique.
But none of it ever paid off. I never made it to the top of anything.
It makes me feel inadequate, pathetic, and even worthless at times. I always try to temper it by convincing myself that winning any of those things I listed above is completely irrelevant. No one cares about that in the real world. It doesn’t have to affect your life.
But people do care. People talk all the time about their championships or wins or victories. It is maybe the most common way to brag about yourself; it is certainly the most acceptable way.
Maybe my wins are still out there waiting for me. I like to think that. Maybe I haven’t started winning yet, but when I do it is going to be incredible.
Maybe it should’ve been incredible already.