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MOLECULAR MODELING Research group at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad


Being second

Being second doesn't mean that you lost;

it means that you had the privilege to compete with the best


We recently participated at the Excellence in Materials Science Applications Publication Contest and in a very strong competition we have won second place. Honestly, this is a great success for us. But, very soon we received a comment: "So what, its just a second place?” This comment actually inspired me to write a few sentences.

In 2014th basketball world championship Serbia won the second place, right after the US national team. After a difficult start in the group phase, our team managed to overcome the crisis and in a series of fantastic plays fought the opportunity to tackle with the best in the world. Our nation was overwhelmed with the success of our players.

Nevertheless, somebody said: "What's the point, the Americans are the best"? I'll tell you what's the point. The point is to get inspiration for other great things. Yes, we lost against Americans, but the duel with them inspired us to keep up with the good work, so in the last Olympic Games we repeated the success in men's basketball. And we also won the medals in women's basketball and volleyball, while waterpolo team won everything there is to win (including the Olympics). That's the point. Only a small number of people actually asks themselves what it takes to be the second. I'll tell you again, being second doesn't necessarily mean that somebody worked less hard than the first. It simply means giving the best you can at the moment and for that particular moment it is enough to win the second place.

If you end up depressed after being the second, it actually means that you missed the chance to learn something from the best. For example, in the first half-time of the match between Serbian and US team, the US team was simply fantastic. But, their play inspired our players, so you could also see fantastic alley ups and other great points by our team in the second halftime. Now, how many basketball teams in the world can afford exotic moves against the dream team? Not to mention that we almost got them in the group phase of the Olympics. Take a look at Đoković, how he (and many of his other colleagues) truly respects the triumph of their opponents, even though he is not the first in the list anymore. Why? Because he learns from the opponent and takes that experience for serious. Take a look at the Icelandic national football team. They didn't come to the competition to win the medal; they came to inspire the nation. And they surely did.

As far as I am concerned, I know I would trade my PhD and do five PhDs more, for two minutes on the court (or in the pool) for national team in the finals. It wouldn't mean that I fought to take the medal, it would mean that I had the pleasure to compete with the best and that's from where the true inspiration comes.