Not many people appreciate last place as much as I do. As I child I played softball and our team was known as the bad-news-bears. For two consecutive years we lost every game and each one was more fun than the one before. But as I grew older and the sports became more competitive I quickly realized that nobody was interested in someone who was comfortable with last place. Instead of agonizing over it, I opted to stay on the side lines cheering on my friends as they won volleyball games, competed in swim meets, became football champions and jumped hurdles higher than I ever believed I could ever jump.

As much as I would not have minded being last, I was more afraid of not being accepted if I came in last.

The BIL (Boy I Love) isn’t comfortable in last place. I understand his distain coming in less than first, second or third and I am sure it is one of the reasons why I am attracted to him. However, I wondered up until this last weekend, what he would think, if I ever came in last place.

Would he love me less?

I got my answer last Saturday when the two of us participated in the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation’s South Bay Dozen. We both agreed to participate in at least three of the 12 water events, which involved various paddling, swimming and surfing skills.

We arrived at the designated beach at 7 a.m., paid our entry fee and got our numbers inked on our arms. I started to look around at the crowd of competitors and noticed there was no ounce of extra inches in the group. I started to panic. “Honey, look at these people, they serious athletes,” I said. He assured me we’d be fine. “So are we babe.” I looked him up and down and then looked at the ten six packs standing in front of me and decided to reiterate my point. “No, honey, we are people who go for a jog once in a while and these are people who are discussing their recent Iron Man times, like real Iron Man.”

He told me it was time we started to soar with the eagles and that we needed to step up our game.

Next thing you know he was done with his race (finishing somewhere in the middle) and it was time for mine.

I have run marathons and participated in triathlons and other various large community events, but in those situations it’s easy to hide among the hundreds or even thousands of participants.

However, here at the South Bay Dozen there were four woman in this particular competition; myself and three woman who, you could bounce a quarter off of any part of their body.

“I just want to warn you now, I am going to be last,” I told the BIL as I loaded my board into the water.

I was right.

“Good job honey, you got fourth place!” The BIL said with pure excitement. I realized he didn’t care if I came in last and neither did all the people who cheered for me when I came into shore.

As the day continued I participate in three more events, garnering three more last place positions. Each one was more fun than the one before.

The money raised during the day’s event was put toward a wounded warriors program, helping rehabilitate those soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here I was worrying about coming in last place, meanwhile there are men and women returning home from war, who have to face more fears, self-doubt and anxieties than I could ever imagine.

Yea I’m okay with being last or as the BIL informed me in the final event of the day; “Honey, you weren’t last, you were 17th.”