There Are No Ties – In Life or In A Cappella

We all know that competition is a part of life, right? We’re taught survival of the fittest in school and we witness it on the playground as kids. We know who is the best baseball or basketball player. We know who is the prettiest, who is the most popular and who is the smartest. Every day is a competition and we learn where we fit in.

When we have kids of our own, somehow we forget this. We forget that they will compete in battles everyday. They’ll either win or lose – and they’ll figure out how to deal with it on their own. We can’t fix it. But we want to – we want to fix it so badly! We want the world to be all fair and fairy dust so somewhere along the way we decided that youth soccer games officially end in a “tie.”

I believed in the “tie” theory. I was blinded to natural selection when I had my first child and bought into this view of the world. It sounded like a great idea until the day my son commented on one of his second grade soccer games: “We lost.” “No you didn’t, it was a tie.” “It wasn’t a tie. They got two goals and we got one. I can count.” “Oh, yeah.”

Who was I trying to kid? Myself, I guess.

The Stereotypes A Cappella (c)Laura Lamere
Sporting their colorful “ties!”

Fast -forward to the day when that son is a 20-year-old college student. The college student sings in an A Cappella group that just competed in and lost the ICCA Quarterfinals. I’d rather say “they didn’t place,” but…they lost. The competition (there’s that word again) was intense, and talented, and good and …competitive.

So what did I say to this group of 16 young men who lived at my house in January? Did I offer any valuable words of wisdom? Did I offer serious critique on song choice or delivery? No. No, I didn’t.

I honestly loved their performance (and travelled a long way to see them), but they probably didn’t want to hear that.  Even so, I couldn’t help saying, “You guys were fanstastic! I liked your songs the most,” and “You were robbed!”

Even to me, it sounded like a lame way of saying: “It was a tie. you didn’t lose.”

The look on my son’s face helped me remember that he can count; and even in A Cappella, there are no ties. It’s a competition and there has to be a winner. Sorry guys.


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