by Gina Welborn
I'm presuming most of you are watching (or have watched some of) the London Olympics. My niece Kaylee is a gymnast and my parents' tv is much smaller than ours, so we invited Kaylee to come over and watch the women's all-around qualification at our house.
Even though I knew ahead a time of the results, I still sat on the edge of my seat during each routine. By now we all know how she placed 4th in qualifications yet didn't make the all-around competition because each country can only send its two highest-scoring athletes.
Think of the all-around qualification in the same manner as the Olympic trials. The athletes are competing for their opportunity to participate as individuals at the Olympics. In every sport, there is a per-country athlete limit. Even if the U.S. has the third-fastest swimmer in the world, they can't compete in the Olympic Games due to a two-athlete-per-event rule.
Well, that's good to know.
Kinda reminds me of professional football. Of the 100,000 high school football players, only 0.2% go on to play in the NFL.
I'm glad the NFL has a per-university athlete limit for going-pro per year.
What!? You mean there isn't a limit.
Let me google. . . . . oooh, look at this:
Notre Dame has had 503 student-athletes gone on to play in the NFL. USC has had 438. Ohio State 378. Michigan 332. Penn State 325. Nebraska 312. Oklahoma 296. While I'm no NCAA football expert, I know that those are seven powerhouses--universitiesg going to Bowl games year after year after year. Usually. Go little university that's so small I don't know your name!
Recently the Christy Awards annouced their finalists. Of all the things I noticed, the one that stood out the most to me were the number of books published by large CBA publishers. Please know I have no ilk with any large CBA publisher. I love them. I have two novellas published with one.
Pondering here. What if publishers had to follow a per-publisher limit when entering books in a contest? Say, each publisher sends their four or five strongest athletes . . . umm, books to a contest (Christy, Carol, Rita, etc). Wouldn't, then, smaller publishers have statistically a more equal chance of finaling?
Okay, I know publishing isn't the same as an athletic competition, but wouldn't a per-publisher limit be, well, more fair? Or should writing contests continue with the same standard as professional athletic organizations? (Is there a better way to say "survival of the fittest"?)
In the ACFW Carol Award, amid books from large and uber-large publishers were two finalists from little-known (but growing) publishers: Port Yonder Press and Marcher Lord Press. Yay for them! As a Carol judge, I encourage you to read over the list of finalists and buy the books you haven't read.
Fairness. Should it exist? Has our we-now-use-green-pens-because-red-ones-are-offensive/hurtful society become too fair?
I'm just wondering if in the Olympic All-Around competition I'd rather see the 24 BEST athletes competing or something that fits in with the Olympic Creed:
The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part,
the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.
The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
What about you? Do you think the per-country limit is reasonable?
And what about in publishing? With the growing number of small presses (print and digital), wouldn't you like to see books published by small presses final in prestigious contests? Do you think small press novels aren't given a fair shake by judges? .
Before you answer, let me go a bit more personal. Is winning your goal? Or can you be content to take par? Do you "be content"? Is triumphing the only thing that matters? Or can you enjoy the struggle? Do you "enjoy the struggle"? Have you lately? Are you right now enjoying not having _______ (fill in blank with something you want but aren't getting while, maybe, others are)? Can you rejoice in another's success while you fail?
As Followers of Jesus, how do we reconcile "I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me" with "be content in all things"?