• 48°

Measuring what is best depends on which ruler you’re using

When I was in elementary school, our school used to dedicate one entire day each year to what was called Field Day. It was a wonderful day where we would stay outside all day and compete in different events from tug-o-war to jumping rope. The best in each category would receive a ribbon at the end of the day.

I have never been much for group activities and preferred to walk my own path. However, on this day, I joined forces with some friends and we entered the tug-o-war contest for the sixth-grade class. To my surprise, we ended up winning and I received a ribbon that said, “School Champions” on it.

I was reminded of this day from way back in 1980 recently when I was digging through our bedroom closet looking for some important papers and I came across the old ribbon.

As I held it in my hands, just for a brief moment I found my mind going back to that day and reliving that wonderful memory. As I came back to myself, I realized that “School Champions” may have been a bit of an overstatement. After all, we didn’t compete against the entire school but only a few teams from the sixth grade.

So many times, I see this same type of thing when people claim to be the best at something. This is especially relevant in sports. Every year when the Super Bowl or the World Series is played, the winner is blasted across the screen as world champions. How can they be world champions when the world wasn’t playing? How do we know there is not a football or baseball team somewhere in Greenland or Antarctica that would wipe the floor with these teams?

There is a popular national magazine that comes out with their annual sexiest man alive issue and they have some celebrity plastered on the cover. Did the magazine review every sexy man in the world before making their decision? No, they did not, because they never knocked on my door to talk to me. If they had there would be no way they would have put George Clooney on the cover.

Every year I see where the winners of beauty pageants are deemed as the most beautiful women in the world even though there are tons of beautiful women in the world who weren’t taken into consideration.

Every time I see this, I think about the old Andy Griffith episode where the farm girl wasn’t allowed by her father to wear make-up and wore overalls and worked only on the farm. Once ol’ Andy figured out a way to get the girl in a fancy dress and have her hair done, her own father didn’t even recognize her because she was so beautiful.

I suspect there are a lot of beautiful women in the world who will never grace the stage of any beauty pageant.

We can say that only five people die each year from being attacked by birds so it’s not a problem. Something tells me that if the people who died were doing the measuring it might come out a little different.

Many times, when something or someone is measured to be the best at something, we need to look at what ruler we are using as that can decide how something measures up.

For example, what one person deems as the best can fall flat to another person.

In return, what doesn’t measure up for one person can be seen as the best by another.

Lucky for me, this is the measurement my wife uses on me.