Today’s youth organizations are signing up kids for sports, they play a full season, and every player in the end gets a participation trophy. Is this ruining kids for the future? In my opinion, I believe there is an age where participation trophies are acceptable, which is up to fifth grade. After that, I believe that participation should be acknowledged, but with a high five, or a pat on the back. Trophies should be something that is earned through hard work and dedication. There would be no need for having skills if everyone just got a trophy anyway.
As a kid I would keep every first place medal or ribbon, and throw out second and beyond. My parents thought this was a crazy practice and that I put too much emphasis on winning. I think that every good thing should be recognized, but trophies never meant all that much to me. I won State Cross Country and got a gold medal. I lost my gold medal because we totaled our van by hitting a deer that night, and I lost it forever. My coach asked if they wanted to order me a new one but I said no. The moral of the story is trophies are not the biggest part of a victory. People know you did well and that is what matters. The same goes with participation trophies. People know you participated, so why do you need a trophy for it?
The New York Times had a good quote on the topic when they stated that “It’s through failure and mistakes that we learn the most. We must focus on process and progress, not results and rewards.” So if we never fail by giving kids trophies, how do we learn? This is a strong lesson everyone should learn for life.
PhsycologyToday.com says “we’re more committed to an activity when we do it out of passion, rather than an external reward such as a trophy.” This a good point. If we do not do a sport out of passion and just for a trophy, what is the point? what happened to just playing a sport for the fun of it.