Trophy Rage

Football season is almost here, and with it comes crisp autumn weather, tailgating feasts, and a brand new pastime in America: Guys beating their chests against youth sport participation trophies.

Post after post on social media takes a verbal piss on anything besides first place. How it teaches kids to expect something for nothing. How it’s a tough world and life doesn’t give out consolation prizes.

Bullshit. Yeah, I’m calling bullshit on all that noise, and I can type from now to Tuesday why they need to have a beer, a burger, and STFU.

I’m in sales, and I definitely understand the connections between drive, determination, and success. High performers take home the lion’s share of commission dollars, bonuses, and awards trips. But if we take the consolation prize concept to its end, it doesn’t look pretty for most people. What if top sales reps were the only ones who ever got paid? What if the bottom 80% got fired at the end of the year? Does that seem right?

Here’s a more direct example: Millions of people run races each year. Marathons, obstacle courses, triathlons… and most of them don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of even cracking the top 100. They give their best efforts and still finish hours behind the winners. Don’t they deserve something ? Hell yeah they do!

Oddly, some of the guys I know who howl about participation trophies gladly accept their finisher medals and then run out and buy car window stickers. And they should, if that’s their thing. But what happened to the “second is the first loser” stuff they were ranting when discussing youth sports? Furthermore, these same guys had TROPHY PALACES when we were growing up, and I’ll wager the things are still junking up their parents’ attics. Those guys are doing just fine today, whether the engraver etched in “tournament champs” or “thanks for playing”.

Look, I get it. We want our kids to try their best and work hard to improve. No quitting. No half-efforts. Winning is fun and losing sucks. These are all life lessons they need. But when we toss their third-place medals in the trash, we risk sending the message that “if you can’t be the best, don’t bother.”

trophyKids these days need to get off the couch more than ever, and team sports are a great way to encourage that. If a shelf full of marble, gold plastic, and nameplates gets them excited to move their little asses, I’m all for it! These are CHILDREN, not Olympic athletes. Let’s build their skills, their character, and their competitive spirit. And we can do all those things without kicking them in their Pee-Wee league balls.

4 thoughts on “Trophy Rage

  1. I’m with ya! However, I think my boys are ready to STOP getting the “thanks for coming out, see you next year” trophy. I’m cool with the fun T-shirt I get for paying my $50 registration fee for the obstacle race I’m way to fucking old to actually run in anyway! I don’t need a trophy but damn give me a little something for my $$$$$! I guess the printed number I safety pin on my shirt might be enough too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with ya! But seriously I can dig the T-shirt I get for my $50 registration fee for the obstacle race I’m way to fucking old to actually run in anyway! That cool number they give you to pin to shirt works too! At least I got something for my $$$$!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I guess I was reacting more to some stuff I’ve seen where I know for a fact these particluar guys had no problems with it when we were young. Now all of a sudden giving an 8-year old a trophy is going to make him soft. I don’t buy it. If they feel that strongly about it, pull him out of school and put his ass to work in a coal mine. That should toughen him up real good!


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