Winning isn't everything, and it certainly is NOT the only thing! And I would even argue that it's not the most important thing. I was reminded of that fact when talking with someone recently about Zack's gymnastics and then again when talking with Zack about his essay for a college scholarship.
Zack has been in gymnastics since he was three years old---over 15 years. He's never been the best, and has sometimes been among the worst competing. So we (including Zack) tend to get a false sense of his actual accomplishments. Even when he was Region 5 High Bar champion as a Level 8, we tended to downplay it and put it in perspective since the best guys his age were already Level 10s. We tend to always compare him to the guys he's competing with and with his older brothers, and while it's fine to keep things in perspective, we also underestimate how good an athlete he really is compared to the general population.
Everything he's done since the day he was put on the Level 4 team as a 7-year-old is difficult to do, from the most basic swing on parallel bars and pommel horse to just holding himself in a support on rings. Most 18-year-old guys, even a lot of really good athletes, would not be able to walk in off the street and do a tiny fraction of what Zack does almost every day.
So we lose sight of how good an athlete he really is. Zack may not win many awards and will struggle to qualify to Nationals. But he's still accomplished MUCH over the years. He's stronger physically and mentally for the work he's put in and the competitions he's done. And that doesn't even include the character that's been built by sticking with it for 15 years and learning to rely on internal rather that external rewards.
Zack is strong and fit and prepared to face his future, and we are so proud of him!