Thursday, November 7, 2013

An Opinion on "Participation Trophies"

Earning It

About this time every high school soccer season, I'd begin thinking about the awards that we coaches would give our players at our season ending get-together.

I had a tradition that, every other season, I would find a toy, token, or object that fit each player and her abilities, attitudes, or interests. Sometimes they would be obvious, sometimes not. They were always meant to be fun, even if they were occasionally a little ambiguously mean.

The superstitious player who wouldn't abandon her soccer boots at the end of the season, choosing to use duck tape on them instead, received a big roll of tape for the next year. The elegant winger who ran like a colt and cursed like a sailor was given a Princess Leia doll with a tiny bar of soap in her mouth. The player who consistently "forgot" to bring her running shoes to practice got another pair of her very own for the next season. ...

See the whole story here, from Keeping Score

Kicking Back Comments: This is a great story, and one I happen to agree with (as I picked up Little Ms. from her last soccer match on Saturday with her new ribbon she received).

I know that it has been said that 80% of life is showing up ... and there are times I agree with that philosophy ... but I also happen to believe that luck is the residue of hard work.

To just show up and get rewarded for it seems a bit vapid for some things. Work as an example ... now I appreciate service awards as I happen to be a recipient of a 10 year award the other day ... but a "thanks for showing up to work" award seems weird to me.

Youth soccer is kinda the same to me ... a "thanks for playing" award? Just odd.

That said, I believe there should be NO awards at those levels. Just come out and play ... and love it. That is the reward ... not a piece of plastic. How are folks inspired to do their best for that?

Then again ... shouldn't that inspiration to excel come from within? 

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