Never Settle for Second Best

When the same team wins every year it can be discouraging for the groups that fall a hair short time and time again. Why aim for the top if you’re just going to end up on the silver medal platform again?

It’s great for the groups (or chapters) that always win; the momentum from an impressive streak is tough to stop. This is, after all, excellence on display. But for the groups trying to get there, it can be a motivation killer. For those middle-of-the-road groups, no matter how hard they work, it seems that one team/chapter/company is always just out of reach.

But every so often one of those teams breaks through after years of being relegated to runner-up status.

Last week Nielsen announced that “Good Morning America” had attracted more viewers than “Today” for the first time in 16 years. It was the longest winning streak in TV history, according to the NYT’s Media Decoder blog.

The triumph of “Good Morning America” over “Today” should be uplifting news for any group that’s been striving for excellence but always in the shadow of the perennial winner. If ABC can break through after holding second place for 852 weeks, then any chapter can earn the top spot for scholarship/manpower/intramurals/campus leadership/etc. no matter how long they’ve been stuck in second place.

The battle for morning show supremacy is also a cautionary tale for chapters that have dominated their campus for years – and there are plenty of them. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. NBC was smart enough to know it couldn’t rest on its laurels, yes despite some major strategic moves in recent weeks it couldn’t keep from being supplanted by ABC as owner of the top morning show. At least for the time being, that is.

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