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She’s a loser, but not a quitter

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood
ALL |

In the movie, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” Will Ferrell plays a NASCAR driver who loses it all. One of the great one-liners from the movie is, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

When it came to my football picks last year, ain’t that the truth.

Readers of the Post Independent might have noticed 2010 was not my year for predicting the outcomes of college and pro football games. For whatever reason – the stars were aligned, or maybe I had more time to watch football – I won the two years prior. I was top dog. The cream of the crop. The bee’s knees.



And all the boys below me in the rankings weren’t too happy about it.

Sure, I was accused of having my boyfriend make my picks. I promise, that did not happen.



I was always way more into football than him anyway.

In 2011, I went in feeling a little cocky. I was on top of my game, as the saying goes. I was seriously going for the three-peat.

“I had this,” I thought.

I so did not have this.

Last season, I started off with poor picks. And I never could catch up to my fellow football picks pickers who literally picked up my fumble and ran with it.

All the way to the top.

In short, that describes my season and how I ended up in the opposite place I was two seasons before, the bottom. As Jeff Caspersen, Post Independent sports editor, says, I am the Ricky Bobby of the GSPI’s football picks.

There just isn’t an in-between for me.

One might say I’m competitive, and that “If you ain’t first, you’re last” line pretty much sums up about everything I do. Like when I’m sick in the wintertime. I’m either coughing up a lung with a bad case of bronchitis or I’m as healthy as a marathon runner.

OK, maybe I won’t go that far.

“If you ain’t first, you’re last” sums up my dating experiences. I’m either in a serious relationship that seems to be working out well, or I’m getting blown off to the extent that I have to send a text asking him if he’s caught under a piece of furniture. And should I send for help.

How embarrassed would I be if he really were?

“If you ain’t first, you’re last” also describes my fried chicken. I either make it like my momma did when I was a kid – pure perfection in my mind – or I burn it so the smoke alarm goes off and the fire department is called.

OK, maybe I won’t go that far.

But I have ruined a perfectly good batch of fried chicken because I can’t get the oil temperature just right. I suppose that’s where fryers can help.

And moms.

I’d say “If you ain’t first, you’re last” describes my hair, too, especially with my new bangs. I either have the greatest hair day in the existence of hair days. Or I have a cowlick and my hair is so frizzy I look like I should be in a Stevie Nicks tribute hair band.

There just aren’t enough of those anymore.

One of the keys to successful personal growth is self-acceptance. At least that’s what the self-help books say. So maybe being comfortable with my “If you ain’t first, you’re last” tendencies will help me find some middle ground. A place where I’m not the winner, and I’m not a loser either. A place somewhere in-between, where there’s more to gain from the experience than just coming out on top or at the bottom.

The risk when frying chicken is just too important.

– April E. Clark would like to thank her friend Susan for helping her realize not every man out there is caught under a piece of furniture. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@yahoo.com.


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