OpEd: Celebrating the Best of 2017

Welcome to one of our biggest and most celebratory issues, an annual labor of love where we congratulate in print and online those people, places, and persons that have won the ‘Best Of’ Awards.

Now I am on record as having said ever so often, mockingly, ‘I hate this issue.’ No, of course I do not mind congratulating winners who you, our readers, have voted upon. I do mind the frustration that acknowledging one company as a winner suggests others have not won.

As a competitor, to be sure, one of my favorite ways to end a game is by winning. And whether I was playing stickball in Brooklyn, New York, growing up in the 1950’s, or publishing a paper in Wilton Manors, in the year, 2017, I want to be all I can be. I want to win. I want SFGN to have the best paper, the best readers, the best graphic design, the best content, the best ads, and the best writers.

I hope you have the same aspirations for your life and your business as well. I don’t think it’s good to be greedy, but I don’t think it’s greedy to be good. We should all try to be the best we can be anytime, anywhere. You never know who is secretly staring at you. It could be a future lover or your next employer. Sure, it could also be a turkey, but you don’t want to look like the stuffing.

Anyway, there are things that can matter more than winning. How you play the game really matters. When the final scores are totaled, it’s not just the teams and players who win that are appreciated, but the ones that achieved success by playing with class and grace along the way. Win a rat race, and what does that make you, the head rat?

“If Athens shall appear great to you,” wrote Pericles, “consider that her honors were won simply by citizens doing their duties responsibly each day.” Doing your job well leads to a life well lived. You may not win an award, but you may make a friend, find a customer, discover a path that gives you inner rewards and great success.

The rainbow world of gays and lesbians has endured an adversity few have known, but we still have our passion, our flag, and our colors. We have sewn a quilt that acknowledges our past losses while embracing our current accomplishments. We are outcasts no longer. We have become proud centerpieces in our community. We are achievers. Today’s newspaper proves it.

We are celebrating people who already are the best. You don’t need to finish in first place. You are an achiever just by being here. Your business and your name in SFGN this week alone, 96 pages strong, now makes you part of the largest LGBT newspaper in America this week. Be proud, you have hit a home run. My job is to figure out how to pay for it next week.

In the meantime, enjoy this issue of SFGN. Save it, relish it, and take advantage of the businesses promoted, the people cited, and the hamburgers congratulated. Please don’t forget there are many fine barbers, top realtors, honest lawyers, painless dentists, and culinary delights in dozens of restaurants, peppering South Florida from Duval Street in Key West to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. I wish there were a budtender or two, but maybe by next year if our legislators get their act together, there will be a few of those named.

There are 365 days in a year. Keep a good diary, and come back to us soon with next year’s nominees and tomorrow’s winners. We will be here to write them up, because we win with each new day, by being in the arena, and letting our voice be heard, our community seen, and our accomplishments celebrated. 

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