Second place sucks

I competed in The Moth’s StorySLAM last night and came in second place, losing to my storytelling hero, Steve Zimmer, by a tenth of a point.

It was actually an honor to compete against to Zimmer, who was exceptionally gracious in his victory, and I should be feeling good about a second place finish after competing against some of the best storytellers I have ever seen last night.

But last night also marks the third StorySLAM in a row that I have placed second, and in each of those second place finishes, I have lost by a tenth of a point.

In addition, I came in second at the most recent GrandSLAM Championship, losing by two-tenths of a point.

It’s starting to annoy me.

That’s not true. It’s starting to enrage me.

I know that I should be pleased with my consistently strong performance and grateful for my good fortune. I have been telling stories at The Moth for just over a year. I have told stories in six StorySLAMs and have placed first or second in five of the six.

I have also told stories in two GrandSLAM Championships and placed second and third.

I should be ecstatic over my early success, especially considering the number of skilled, talented, and experienced storytellers who I compete against on a nightly basis, but instead, I am just angry that I continue to lose by a smidgen, even when I am losing to my hero.  

My only solace:

In the video below, which features Zimmer, he describes himself as being at least as competitive as me and at least as disappointed as me when he loses. Other storytellers have expressed similar sentiments to me in the past. I may be a petulant, bitter loser, but apparently it is par for the course.

Also, at the time of filming, Zimmer had also placed second in three consecutive StorySLAMs, so perhaps there’s hope.

Maybe I’m simply walking a path similar to that of my storytelling hero, finding my way to storytelling glory. It’s a lousy, good-for-nothing path, but perhaps there is a light somewhere at the end.

If so, I can’t see it yet.

But it’s been less than 24 hours since I lost to Zimmer. Maybe I’ll be less annoyed and more appreciative with time.