It was to be a win/win but not so perfect a one as to mean the same quality of win for each on each side of the ledger. It was to be not so lopsided a win/win either, as is often the case with wins of this nature, but would yoke together into a single standing one win from the past and one promised a future winner. The past winner, whose overly massaged ego exasperated the field on a constant basis, was not only used to winning, but she was a mature marksman and an environmental activist. As with all (what we used to call) Type A Personalities, and I sometimes think I’m one, she treated every stage of training and the contest itself like a fight to the death. One could say losing wore a target on its chest. Losing was a hunted runner. The future winner, who was the usual loser, and whose wins were somehow always lost before becoming part of the permanent record, expected the whole thing to be called off without warning, compounding her identity as someone who was not meant to win but to stand for defeat on a philosophical level. How ironic that the usual loser who was the future winner, who internalized loss like a tapeworm, appeared indifferent to the outcome of any given contest. Contrast this with the grandstanding of the usual winner, whose rise in the standings was regularly described in the media as “meteoric.” Whenever the usual loser saw this adjective, she admitted her clumsiness with a rifle relative to the usual winner’s composure, while simultaneously soothing herself with a soft fact: The secret everyone kept from her was that she was a legend of the heart and an introvert. She was neither Type A nor Type B but was stunned when occasionally she learned of someone having the same thought she’d had. Then she would wrap herself in green and lie back into greenery and weep there in the grass, but not really. Keeping her deep reserves of contentedness a secret, she energized her inner life with the person of not so much a martyr as a savior, who must berate herself for having such an icky complex. She was then a Citizen of the West who had not a lot but enough money. Her outward manifestation some called Game Face: She painted it a flesh tone with a little rouge for cheekbones and lips, while the usual winner, the media darling called Meteorite, decorated her nose, chin, and forehead with such intricate scenes as people doing yard work and pushing shopping carts and leaning down to tie a child’s shoelace. She applied this paint with the conviction that all actions had a spiritual motive behind them not unlike a soft hammer driving down on soft metal heads. This is not a praise-be-to-god thing I’m describing but something more elemental. If this poem, a speedy improvisation, has chosen a winner, it’s not me talking. I don’t follow the sport. I know not one contestant. If it seems like the usual loser (future winner) should be the one with the pretty tableaux painted on her face, I can see why you’d think that. If the past winner is off-putting for being egotistical, I will defend her to the hilt because she reminds me of my twin sister, Regina. She too is a champion chipping away at the myth of mediocrity. This is an important message, she says, even if you don’t know you’re sending it: Everyone is incredible. I may not always embrace this, but I stand in awe of both winners for their sheer athleticism. When I push myself up a snowy incline and lean on a pole to steady myself for a minute, every once in a while my shortness of breath reminds me of the brevity of life, when suddenly everything around me comes into sharp focus and every texture and odor intensifies. Of all possible sounds, the most beautiful in these rare moments are those of funny people bitterly complaining.