Everyone Deserves a Participation Trophy
Emma Lindsay

Goddamnit — I so wanted to dislike this post from the onset and was well on my way until you tied it up neatly with a beautiful bow at the end. Spot on.

I have some reflecting to do on my contradictory ideas it seems. I think I have an idea of why I still hold onto the idea that liberals tend to coddle too much (incl. believing participation trophies are silly) but I’m not sure it’s actually good.

I think it’s hard for people to draw differences from a competitive sport and life, because we have turned life into a competition of sorts. I’m completely against that, we’re not on earth to win we’re here to stay alive. But because that’s so damn easy in this era we have taken it much further where we’re trying to thrive, it’s cutthroat and all about winning. That hurts people.

But sports are different because they’re unimportant. I don’t like my son getting participation trophies because it doesn’t take any effort to participate (obv. if you run a race it does but in many sports just showing up is the most effort you have to put in). I don’t want to celebrate people who simply go through the motions but don’t care. It’s crazy to teach anyone that’s good enough to earn awards. What we should teach them is that if you don’t care that’s fine, you don’t have to.

And that’s where I reside I guess. Like you (except without the talent and education and hard work) I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to college, landed in corporate America, and received a couple of promotions in less than two years. I was just as depressed as I ever was, it didn’t make a difference whatsoever.

I’ve always fought the system because I disagree with it. College is mostly unnecessary, the only reason it remains a requirement is because other rich white people have decided it should be without any real evidence that it makes a difference. Of course it’s situational, I hope doctors continue getting a great education, but teachers HAVING to have masters? Just flat out dumb. It should be optional with an incentive at best.

I never wanted to go to college but I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I never really wanted to work in corporate America but I threw that aside believing the hype. Society has failed me. Those before me help create arbitrary standards and rules that I’m subjected to, and that is why I’m always depressed. I’m tired of the expectations thrust upon me — I’m tired of people telling me they see so much potential in me, sorry that I don’t give a shit about making a bunch of money while being miserable 9 hours a day. My entire life I’ve been told I have so much potential, and now I see it for what it really means — I have the potential to make other people a lot of money while doing ok myself — na, I’ll pass.

So yeah, I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. After all, despite being a sports junkie and even playing college baseball I don’t care at all about sports anymore — once I got rid of cable and stopped watching I realized that it didn’t actually add value to my life but rather distracted me from doing things that did add value, like being with my family. So I don’t know why I hold onto the silly standards that reside within sports. Not to mention, seeing my son get his participation trophy in baseball brought tears to my eyes — he was so happy and proud, and I couldn’t have been happier for him.

Damn. Well done.

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