Trophies are meant for winners. Somewhere along the line, youth sports and local communities lost sight of that. Growing up, I remember being on the losing team in the championship game of Little League, yet, we were given a trophy. I found it confusing. We lost. The only thing we deserved was the sting from not getting the job done, and it acting as motivation to wanting to play better the year before. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. When I swam, the better swimmers received the bigger individual trophy at the end of the year. But then, we all received the same size. They all had our name’s on it, and no longer did they have the subheading of ‘Coach’s Award’ vs ‘Participant Award.’ Fast forward to today, and every kid gets ribbons, medals, trophies. Everyone is a winner. Heck, even field days at elementary schools don’t allow you to cheer. While this is the norm across most of this country, a youth football program in Keller, TX is changing direction.
The Keller Youth Football Program has made the choice in only giving awards to the winners. Via GMA:
“Going forward participation medals or trophies will be going away. KYA Football board feels that giving participation medals or trophies isn’t sending our children the right message,” the association wrote in a Facebook post. “Life does not give you a participation job or medal, life makes you earn everything you get,” the announcement continued.
I don’t want to get on a soap box about this, but I cannot agree more with this program’s decision. I really believe that giving everyone something for nothing attributes to the attitude of ‘what about me?’ What I mean is, people think they deserve something that someone else is already receiving, regardless if earned or not. This behavior is being reinforced to our youth. As long as we are teaching our children that, they will have expectations when the real world comes into play while they are on their own. They won’t feel the need to push themselves to be as successful, or at least to reach their potential.
The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is often taken out of context. People focus on the ‘all men are created equal’ and ignore the rest. We have the right to pursue happiness, it isn’t something given to us. Just because we were all created equal, doesn’t mean we get everything equal.
Hopefully this begins a trend across youth sports, but my inclination is that this will be an exception.