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When Second Place Wins

We’ve all heard the phrase.

“Win at all costs”.

Is it true?

Or is there a different and more important win?

Earlier this month at the South Dakota Class A Golf Tournament defending champion Kate Wynja finished first again, winning medalist honors and helping her Sioux Falls Christian team secure the state championship.

Except she realized she had turned in an incorrect scorecard. Her “4” on the final hole should have been a “5”.

“I knew I needed to tell them,” Wynja told the Argus Leader . “It was really sad, mostly because I knew what the result would be. I knew that I would be disqualified, and it broke my heart for the team. But I knew I couldn’t leave without saying something.”

Tournament officials had no choice but to disqualify her. Sioux Falls Christian fell to second place, the team championship going to Belle Fourche High School.

Kate could have remained silent, received medalist honors, and hoisted the trophy with her teammates.

Who would ever know?

That’s the challenge for all of us, isn’t it? Whether it’s the number we write down on the scorecard, the expense account we turn in, or the accomplishments we list on our resume. It’s our challenge and our choice. Do we trust our real accomplishments and integrity to be enough? Or will we inflate our number in order to win?

For Kate, a clean second is better than a dirty first.

It appears those looking in think her clean second is the real win, too.

Tournament director Dan Swartos says, “I have so much respect for Kate to come up and do that. I cannot say enough for that young lady and how much integrity that took, and how proud I am to have kids like that in South Dakota.”

Kate’s integrity was noteworthy to another person who knows a thing or two about winning.

“I love the uniquely special characteristics of the game of golf. Even when it is sometimes tough love. Congrats to this young lady for using golf as a vehicle to teach us all life lessons on honesty & integrity!” — Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) June 7, 2018

We’ve all heard the phrase.

“Win at all costs.”

Kate Wynja’s example reminds us there’s a more important phrase.

“Integrity at all costs.”