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Participation Trophies & Medals

March 18, 2016

Makayla Huisman
Miss Sahly
College Writing & Research
10 March, 2016

    The desire to win starts with children at a young age. In all sports, winning results in some kind of award, whether it be a trophy, a medal or a verbal congratulations. Even second and third place winners get some sort of award. But should participants get a trophy or medal just for entering in the competition? Participation trophies and medals should not be given in competitions or games no matter what age the participants are in. Not everyone can win and learning that at a young age can set up great success in the future.
    The way to become a humble winner is to learn to be a gracious loser. By giving a participation trophy, learning to lose is skipped and in the future, participants will never become a humble winner. Just because someone did their best and lost or did their best and won, getting a trophy does not represent the personal achievement. Setting a personal record and not winning the competition does not and should not result in a trophy. Learning that sometimes your best isn't enough for the competition but good enough for you is a big step to becoming a humble winner. The same goes for not doing your best but winning the competition. There's no improvement and no measure of what you have learned or gained from the experience. While I still think that a first place winner deserves a trophy or a medal, an award does not measure your growth and should not be relied on or thought of as the most important part of the sport.
    Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison posted a photo on social media once about taking away his sons participation trophies (Ross). While there was uproar over what he did, his caption and explanation for his action spoke loudly. Harrison said, "While I am proud of my boys and everything they do and will encourage them until the day I die, these trophies will not be given back until they earn a real trophy" (Ross). Harrison definitely has the right mentality for the future of his boys and he explains that he will continue to encourage them and support them. This is excellent considering most kids would want to quit or get upset over not winning. Harrison is a great example to all parents battling the issue of participation awards. 
    While winning is great and getting a trophy is even better, a participation trophy does not define what you have done or what you have learned. To win you need to be able to lose and with competition and the correct teaching of winning, participants will not expect a trophy nor be upset when they don't get a trophy for participation.  
Ross, Martha. "Should Kids in Sports Get Trophies for Just Participating?" - San Jose Mercury News. Digital First Media, 1 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.


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