Full version of the rhyme “First the worst, Second the best…”

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First the worst Second the best

Hey there! Remember those carefree days on the playground, when the biggest decisions were about who was “it” in a game of tag or what rhyme would determine the picking order in kickball? Among the echoes of laughter and the scuffling of sneakers, one rhyme stood out for its simplicity and competitive edge: “First the worst, second the best…” But, like a game left unfinished at the bell, the rhyme often trails off into the realm of childhood mystery. What is the full version of this rhyme, and why has it stuck with us through the years? Let’s dive into this playful piece of nostalgia and unpack its full version and enduring charm.

The Rhyme in Full Swing

zero the hero

first the worst

second the best

third the one with the hairy chest

fourth the one with the golden gun

fifth the one with the monkey bum

sixth the king

seventh the queen,

eighth the one stuck in the washing machine.

ninth the one with the golden eagle

tenth the ghost climbing a lamppost

Another versions

1st worst,

2nd the best,

3rd is the one with the hairy chest,

4th the King,

5th the Queen,

6th the one in the washing machine,

7th the angel,

8th the ghost,

9th the one who thinks they re the worst,

10th is ace,

11th wins the race,

and 12th is the one with the frilly lace!


Zero the hero

First was burst

Second the best,

Third the one with the scary vest,

Forth the one with the pierced tongue

Fifth the one with the soggy bum

Sixth the one with the bragging son

Seventh the one with the song to hum

Eight the one with a golden heart

Ninth the one who did a giant fart

Tenth the one who drove a go cart

Eleventh the one who had a head start

Twelfth the one who likes to eat fish

Thirteenth the one with an amazing wish

Fourteenth the one with a small dish!

The Origins: A Playground Puzzle

Tracing the origins of “First the worst, second the best…” is like trying to catch a shadow. Its roots are deeply embedded in the oral tradition of playground chants, passed down from one generation of schoolchildren to the next. While it’s challenging to pinpoint exactly where or when the rhyme originated, its widespread recognition across English-speaking countries points to its universal appeal and longevity.

Why It Sticks: The Psychology of Playground Rhymes

There’s something undeniably catchy about playground rhymes. They’re easy to remember, fun to recite, and often contain a rhythm or rhyme scheme that sticks in our minds. But beyond their catchy nature, these rhymes serve as a microcosm of childhood social dynamics. “First the worst, second the best…” is more than just words; it’s a playful way to explore competition, hierarchy, and the desire to be recognized — themes that are all too familiar in the schoolyard and beyond.

The Competitive Edge: More Than Just a Game

At its heart, this rhyme reflects the competitive spirit inherent in many childhood games. It’s a lighthearted way to assign value and status, even if only temporarily. But it also teaches a subtle lesson about the arbitrary nature of rankings and the importance of not taking these competitions too seriously. After all, the “one with the hairy chest” or the “polka dot dress” adds a humorous twist that undercuts the competition with a dose of silliness.

Variations on a Theme: The Rhyme’s Many Forms

As with any piece of oral tradition, “First the worst, second the best…” has spawned countless variations. Some add more rankings (“Fifth the one who’s the golden eagle,” for example), while others play with the characteristics attributed to each position. These variations are a testament to the creativity of children and the fluidity of playground culture, where anything can be adapted, adopted, and made anew.

The Legacy: From Playground to Pop Culture

While primarily a staple of childhood games, the essence of “First the worst, second the best…” has permeated pop culture, from references in movies and TV shows to being quoted in books and social media. It’s a nostalgic touchstone for many, a reminder of simpler times when the outcome of a rhyme could determine the course of an afternoon’s play.

Conclusion: Celebrating Childhood’s Chants

“First the worst, second the best…” is more than just a rhyme; it’s a cultural artifact, a piece of the collective childhood experience shared by millions. It reminds us of the power of play, the universality of certain experiences, and the joy found in the simplest of chants. So, whether you were the one with the “hairy chest” or the “polka dot dress,” remember that these playful competitions and rhymes were all in the spirit of fun, a way to navigate the complex world of social interaction from the safety of the playground.

In the end, the full version of the rhyme, like many aspects of childhood, is less about the specific words and more about the feelings they evoke and the connections they foster. So here’s to “First the worst, second the best…” and to all the playground rhymes that have stuck with us, shaping our memories and echoing through our lives with laughter and nostalgia.

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