I recently created a meme with a line that said 'it is not last place, it is the first rung on my ladder to champion.' Here is the story behind it.
Waiting for results. We have all been there, and yesterday was no different. My daughter hadn't placed since moving to OC, and we weren't expecting her to yesterday. So there we were, waiting to hear how she placed.
After the top placements had been recognized, all the dancers were called to the side stage, where my dancer finally got her results. I saw her scan the page, I saw the smile, I saw her run to her Mom, with that 'not last' grin on her face, in fact, even better than 'not last.'
We saw one of her friends from the comp, asked how she did, she smiled and said, 'not last.'
'Not Last,' that's a good thing. I used the phrase describing her performance, in fact, I used it yesterday, but as we drove home from the feis, that phrase stuck in my head.
I know 'not last' is an acknowledgement of improved performance, but the way we use that phrase, it makes 'last' seem like a bad thing. We are saying, 'at least I wasn't last.' like last is the loser of the group. I started thinking about it, and I beg to differ. In the case of my dancer, 'last,' at her level, is the bottom of the top, she is already part of the best. How can any placement within the 'best' be negative?
If you use my reasoning, leveling up makes you part of a better group. If your score is lower than everyone else, you are still dancing at a level better than where you were, so 'last', when you are ranked in a stronger group, should not be considered a bad thing.
I guess that means that 'last' could be considered a negative when it happens in a First Feis comp. Really, how can there be anything negative with that much cuteness? Even without the cuteness, I dont feel 'last' should be used so that it is considered a negative, even at the beginning levels of dance.
I my opinion, no dancer, no matter what age, or level, should be labeled in any way that makes them seem, or feel like, any performance is a losing effort, even if it resulted in 'last place.' They work hard, they put aside other hobbies, give up tv shows and video games, etc... They get off the couch, go to dance class, practice and exercise at home, try to eat right, make sacrifices.
I am not saying give everyone a medal, we all need to learn that our effort determines our reward. And let's face it, someone will have to place lower than the rest of the group, but being in last place does not make them a 'loser'. Lets highlight the work that got them to where they are, and the opportunities that lay ahead.
'Last place' is one of the first steps needed to achieve their goals. Lets not make it a negative so they don't take the next step. Don't focus on the fact there was no one behind them, help them focus on the fact that they want to be as good as the people ahead of them. They are all winners in training.