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First Shall Be Last And The Last Shall Be First

April 25, 2018

Which would you rather, to be first or last?

Like many things, the answer is “It depends.”

There are plenty of examples of the benefit of being first. Yesterday my son ran the mile race in the district finals. He’s a freshman in high school. He’s very good, but he’s new to track. He finished eighth. Of course he wanted to finish first. I’m sure there are a lot of firsts in his future.

The NFL draft is this week. The number one pick will make a lot of money. The higher a player is in the draft, the better the player’s contract will be. In fact, the last player drafted gets a special title, “Mr Irrelevant.” So, being first is best and being last is bad.

But, first isn’t always best. I have a lot of friends who are comedians. Comedians do a lot of shows. You’re probably familiar wtih a headliner. Comics like the late Robin Williams, or Eddie Murphy, or Tina Fey, or Steve Hofstetter are called headliners. But, if you attend a comedy show, you’ll notice that the headliner doesn’t come out at first. First is the opener. He’ll do 5-7 minutes. Next is the feature. If you’ve seen comedy posters that say, “Featuring. . .” that’s the guy who will typically come out second. He’ll do 10-15 minutes.

The one that comes last is the headliner. He’ll do an hour or so. In comedy, no one really wants to go first. Even at an Open Mic, the first guy up typically has the hardest time getting the crowd.

Speaking of comedy, the baseball season is in full swing. Of course, every team wants to be in first place. But, even in baseball there are times when it pays to be last.

Baseball is 9 innings. Each inning has a two halves. One of the unbreakable rules of baseball is that the home team always bats last. In fact, if the home team is ahead going into the 9th inning, and the visitors fail to gain the lead during their half of the 9th, the game ends.

I’m not sure there’s an important point. Just that being first or last is really just a matter of perspective.

Whether you are coming in first or taking your “last ups” keep moving forward.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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