Whenever the Olympics roll around, I think of Jerry Seinfeld’s line about the silver medal winners: “Of all the losers, you were the best.”
That extends even further to the bronze medalists, a congratulatory concept that isn’t applied in any other major American sport. If you lose the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup, at least you won your conference championship, but there’s no praise for the teams that didn’t get there because they lost in earlier playoff rounds. Winning the division in baseball doesn’t mean anything if you don’t advance in the post-season.
Even in “Glengarry Glen Ross,” while the winner gets a car and second-place gets steak knives, third place gets fired. No medal, no recognition, just the brutal reality that you weren’t even second-best. Sure, there’s the “show” position in horse racing, but that’s just to keep the bettors happy.
Unless you were a complete underdog who most people thought couldn’t even finish the race, who’s happy getting the bronze?