No Second Prize: A Tribute to Those Who Assist
I don’t care who you are or how influential you’ve been, your greatness has always been a team effort.
Whether acting as a sounding board and moral compass, offering words of encouragement, or comforting us when we stumble, the ones who support us are always with us in our hearts, cheering us on. Their presence enables us to tackle goals we otherwise wouldn’t (or couldn’t), yet sadly, what should be celebrated as a team effort is often solely credited to the individual who ‘kicked the goal’. It’s a travesty of the human spirit and something I simply can’t abide.
This is my love letter to you, the ones who choose to come second, whose generosity of heart and selfless character enables spirits like me (the ‘goalkickers’) to do our job. Without your love and support, we are mere shadows of who we might be.
I used to be like you.
The unsung one. The one who sets up the goalkicker to score. I’ve done it in sport, playing cricket (bowler) and soccer (wing/defender), I did it when I played video games as a semi-professional (Battlefield 1942 Desert Combat). For most of my life, in everything I did, I was the enabler, the one who set up the winning play and refused to take credit for it. That always frustrated me. It never felt right.
It took a friend of mine and his devotion to female dominance to help open my eyes. He helped me understand the dominant mindset, understand my drive to win, to be peerless in anything that mattered to me. Through his eyes and the eyes of others who came into my life around the same time, I came to understand who I really am. With me in their lives these people blossomed and I realised that all they really needed was for someone to recognise how amazing they were and validate them, someone they could trust to see them for who they really were.
They needed a goalkicker to turn around and say “Hey! That was awesome! We never would’ve scored if you hadn’t set me up so perfectly!”.
This article isn’t about me, but it is about my relationship to you and how much you mean to me and others like me. On behalf of ‘goalkickers’ everywhere, my heartfelt thank you!
It’s about my profound gratitude towards you and the people you enable in your lives. It’s those quiet words of yours that I with my bullish, uncompromising attitude to life need to hear from time to time. It’s your gentle touch on my arm that reminds me that despite my strength, I am human too and that sometimes I need to show compassion or restraint. It’s that (I’m in tears as I write this) voice of reason when you tell me things I don’t want to hear, rather than what I do, that enables me to be a better person and adopt a more philosophical, grounded approach to life. I won’t hesitate to say that I am who I am because of you. I value these things and more, but what I value most about you, is the way you make me feel. That I can relax in your presence and be silly and not take everything so seriously, that the world won’t end if I let my guard down for a few days, because life is just a game.
You may sometimes frustrate me and my deeply ingrained knowing that I am right or upset me when you oppose my judgement, but I am grateful nonetheless. In my raw, big picture approach to life, I sometimes miss the fine details that you see. I overlook that my tone of voice or my wording was too harsh and upset someone, but you always call me to task on it. It escapes me that my words aren’t (laughing now) the law, but it never escapes you that they shouldn’t be. To you, whoever you are, you have my deepest, tear-filled gratitude. You are the sparkle in my day, the fire in my heart that keeps the crucible of my spirit churning, unwilling to ever give in or compromise on my vision. It’s protecting you that gives me strength. It’s loving and cherishing you that makes each and every day such a rewarding experience.
To say that I am grateful would be an understatement. There can be no black without the white, no yin without the yang. Likewise, people like me simply aren’t possible without people like you. If we are the vanguard, then you are the glue that holds everything together with your selfless acts and your peerless teamwork. Forget all talk of ‘scoring’, without you we are directionless. You are not only our (moral) compass, emotional anchor and beacon in the dark, but you are the gold standard against which everyone else is measured in our hearts.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Always remember, while there are those who mistake your indecision or unwillingness to take what you want or speak your mind for weakness, there are others like me who see you for who you are. We will not hesitate to step up and fight for you if you ask us (and sometimes even if you don’t) because who you are is precious to us and should be precious to humanity as a whole.
Never forget that.
To those of you who feel this way, feel free to contact me!
Credit: Special credit for this article goes to Thefriendlyorc for his stellar personal work with me and to my roleplaying crew (Narakyo, Internetminder, Raine616, Spectre and RuneT). Your relationship to my characters helped me make sense of it all. Special thanks to James, Tim and Scott for putting up with me (read: being my friend) for 15+ years, especially James; I was thinking of you when I wrote that line about the ‘voice of reason’. Credit also to my spirit guides who recognised early on what I didn’t, that the continued lack of “higher” guidance in my life (or perhaps my stubborn inability to accept it) was necessary and deliberate. What a humbling realisation. Thank you for putting up with my impetulance and my personal drama. I am deeply grateful.
Also, Australian singer Jimmy Barnes whose song “Ain’t No Second Prize” provided a crystallizing moment for me that provided the seed for this piece.