Trophies For Losers?

Mediocrity shouldn’t be celebrated, losers shouldn’t be rewarded, and it sends the wrong message when you give children awards just for showing up:

“When a youth basketball league in Framingham finishes its season next month, every fifth- and sixth-grader will receive a shiny trophy. Even those on the last-place team.

”We want them to be happy and come back to play the following year,” said the Temple Beth Am Brotherhood league’s director, Rich Steckloff.

In communities across Boston’s western suburbs, at the end of long seasons on the soccer pitch, hoop court, or baseball diamond, kids are getting trophies not for winning championships, but for simply participating.

Some say there’s no harm in awarding trophies to all, that it’s a reward for playing a sport that keeps them fit. And it’s hard to argue with the warm feeling a parent gets when their wide-eyed child receives a prize.

…Roy Baumeister, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, said the trophy explosion was a product of the self-esteem movement, which began in the 1970s and gained momentum in the ’80s with promises of more successful children. The movement started to unravel a decade later, when questions were raised about its results, said Baumeister, who has specialized in self-esteem issues.

Baumeister said feel-good trophies don’t serve any purpose.

”The trophies should go to the winners. Self-esteem does not lead to success in life. Self-discipline and self-control do, and sports can help teach those,” he said.”

When I was a kid, I played a lot of sports at the Boys Club of America. Baseball, basketball, football (until I broke my leg) and even one season of soccer for some reason, and I would have thrown a “participation trophy” in the trash.

Life isn’t just about participation or just “showing up,” it’s about excellence and it’s never too early to start teaching that to kids. In fact, that’s one of the greatest things about sports: that you learn about the benefits of team work, competition, and that you can start to get an understanding of what earning a victory is really all about. Even if you’re just a third stringer on a championship team, you can at least feel like you played some small part in your team’s success. But, just getting a pathetic “loser trophy” like this? It’s worthless and in their hearts, even the kids know it.

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