It’s kind of a mess.
In case you haven’t heard, the Farmington Kelly Greens won first place at the state dance competition in Albuquerque over the weekend.
Until about Monday night.
Under the cover of darkness, around 9:30 p.m. Monday night, the New Mexico Activities Association sent out a press release saying that they had made an unspecified error in tabulating points. As a result, the Kelly Greens would have to return their second-place trophy and accept a fourth-place finish. The former third- and fourth-place teams (Gallup and Piedra Vista Panteraz) each moved up a slot.
Great news for PV and Gallup. Not so much for Farmington.
All praise is due the teams that moved up to their rightful places. They competed hard enough and well enough to earn red and green trophies. Their accomplishments deserve to be honored.
“It is exciting to be awarded the trophy no matter what,” said PV head coach Daniele Crabtree. “The girls do wish they could have gotten the recognition they deserved on Saturday, but having everything straightened out is all that matters.”
But there’s still the matter of the Kelly Greens. They were at the same competition. They saw the other teams perform, then went out and gave their all. When all the scores were added up, they were told they were the second-best team at the competition.
I’m sure there were tears when the results were announced — tears of joy for the Kelly Greens, and tears of frustration for the other teams. And I’m sure there were protests — some vehement — that so-and-so team deserved to win more, that their routine was FAR better. These are typical reactions when you don’t do as well in a competition as you might’ve expected.
At that point, the Kelly Greens were the second-best team in the state. They should have stayed that way.
I’m not faulting the NMAA for double-checking their math (though you’d think they might’ve done that before handing out the trophies). Nor do I think it wrong they tried to rectify a bad situation created entirely of their own making.
But you don’t fix a situation like this by bringing someone else down. When the powers-that-be realized that another team deserved second place, they should have called up the teams and told them … and then had another second-place trophy made.
Because when those parents look back at the photos of that day, they’ll see the Kelly Greens holding the red trophy. In five, 10 or 15 years, when the young athletes look back on that day, the Kelly Greens are going to remember accepting it. You can’t take away the photos. You can’t take away the memories. You can try to take away the physical reminder, but to do so is petty and accomplishes almost nothing.
One team took first place that day. Two teams took second, and another took third. The rest of the competitors in that gym could stand tall, knowing they did their best.
The only losers were the suits.