Thursday, August 16, 2012

No more trophies

Elitists often complain about the development of a culture where "everyone is special", and kids get trophies just for participating. I agree that it is silly to give a trophy to everyone regardless of whether they won or lost (as happened when I played tee-ball).

But you know what? It's silly to give out trophies at all: especially trophies that are as big as the kids. Winning a little league tournament is not an accomplishment worth commemorating. I had amassed a large collection of sports trophies by the time I was in high school, but in my late teens it dawned on me that they were just a pile of plastic BS. Some of them served their purpose as mementos, but a team picture and a gold sticker would have been just as good. Nowadays we can just stick that stuff online. If anything, that default trophy during my first year of baseball only whetted my appetite for gaining additional pieces of shiny plastic.

As others have explained, we shouldn't be competing for trinkets denoting status. We compete in sports because it provides structure to our activities, and maybe even trains us for living a good life. We should walk away from the field having enjoyed the challenge and shaking hands with our opponents. We need to note the score, but commemorating such events indicates that we have lost sight of what matters in life.

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