In the sports world, second place is just the first loser. In my world, second place still wins a million dollars in the Lottery. Today, our Oracle staff attended the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s (FSPA) District 4 workshop on the campus of University of South Florida (USF). As a staff, it was our most successful afternoon since taking home three awards in Columbia, SC last March, but for me: It was a back and forth nightmare that ended with the sweet taste of victory.

Sorting through the multiple contest categories, I was entered by my Adviser, James Flaskamp in the “On-The-Spot: Sports Column” writing contest. That means I am given a topic to write about and I only have a certain amount of time to complete it…sounds fun right?

Here’s a timeline of events leading up to my deadline:

8:15a.m. – Checked in at the USF Marshall Center and received my topic (Should College Athletes Get Paid?) and directions from Hillsborough High School “The Red and Black” Adviser, Joe Humphrey.

8:25a.m. – Along with the rest of the staff, I went downstairs to Einstein Brothers Bagels to grab a delicious plain bagel and a cup of Florida orange juice.

8:35a.m. – Borrowing our Assistant Photo Editor, Megan Forde’s laptop (covered with a pretty princess casing…manly right?) I sat down and began feverishly typing away while gnawing away at my breakfast.

9:00a.m. – I am forced to end my writing session for an hour in order to watch keynote speaker Sean Daly from the St. Petersburg Times (LOVE LOVE LOVE HIM!) talk about his “journey” and his daily life.

10:00a.m. – The speech ends (a little late) and I am off to dash back down stairs to find a spot to finish my sports piece.

10:42a.m. – After completing my masterpiece, I dash back two flights of stairs to turn in my flash drive which contains the article. When I arrive, I am informed by those inside the room that I need to find a way to print the story…by this time I feel like kicking down a door.

10:44a.m. – Through the staring eyes of those who watched in amusment, I speed like Usain Bolt back to the first floor of the Marshall Center looking for an information center for help.

10:52a.m. – By the time I finally get on track, my deadline has passed and the depression is settling in my heart like I just lost my first love…however, there’s light and thanks to Flaskamp, my deadline has been extended and victory is within my grasp.

11:00a.m. – Through the advice of the lady inside the USF student computer lab, I am forced to buy a “Bulls Bucks” card in order to pay the 33 cent cost of printing a piece of paper. I put in my dollar, receive my card and bust out the door.

11:03a.m. – Returning to the lab, I am surprised to be told that I paid for a piece of plastic which has no value (GREED!) until I am able to put money on the card…SIGH.

11:05a.m. – Sweating bullets, out of breath, at least five miles on my Odometer, I return to the machine inserting ANOTHER dollar and receiving my balance and finally I am able to print my copies of my article for the judges.

11:08a.m. – I return to the room after another hustle up the stairs and I hand my paper to Joe, thank them all and finally make my (extended) deadline.

(…)

2:37p.m. – With a group of about 600 people around me, Joe calls my name up to the Marshall Center stage to receive my award..even cracking the joke that I receive “extra credit” for typing up my story (little does he know). With a smile on my face, and fist in the air, I have finally won.

See, second place does mean winner after all.

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