What I Discovered About Participation Trophies

We all have a trophy case in our house filled with trophies that range from first place medals to simply participation trophies. Everyone likes to receive trophies, but a debate has sparked up as to whether participation trophies should be given out. The controversy regards whether participation trophies are teaching kids the correct morals. A large portion of people believe participation trophies do a great job of teaching hard work, while others believe trophies should only represent a sense of accomplishment.

James Harrison, a linebacker on the Pittsburgh Steelers, started this controversy as he took away his kids participation trophies. Harrison posted an instagram photo of his son’s participation trophy and in the comment space stated how he was taking the trophy from his son because you have to earn a trophy. Harrison said that his son had to earn a trophy and a trophy shouldn’t just be handed to a participant. He went on to state how this is a life lesson; Harrison described how he doesn’t want his kids to think that everything will just be handed to them.

The country is almost exactly split on this issue. Valid points emerge from both sides of this controversy. Participation trophies are a great way to boost self-confidence among young children. Most kids also just flat out enjoy trophies for participating in sporting events. On the other hand, people argue that participation trophies aren’t teaching kids correct values. James Harrison states how he will always support his kids, but they need to learn everything doesn’t always work out. The debate is mainly sparked between one theme — accomplishment. Some people think that showing up and trying your best deserves a trophy. You can’t be the best and win at everything so why not receive a trophy for the effort and time you put. Also being on a losing team year after year can be frustrating, so why not give kids a sense of accomplishment with a participation trophy. Sports are not always about winning and losing, but working hard and having fun. On the hand some people believe that they shouldn’t be entitled to trophies. As Harrison puts it, sometimes your best is not good enough.

Polls have been conducted on this issue to see where people with different backgrounds stand on this issue. A poll conducted by Reason-Rupe showed that people ages 18–24 are split on this issue with 51 percent voting kids should get participation trophies and 49 percentage voting only winners should receive trophies. With each age progressing, the percentage increases for only winners get trophies. For ages 65 or older, a whopping 67 percent believe only winners deserve trophies. Another surveyed was conducted that grouped voters based on income. Those earning $30,000 or less voted 55 percent towards all kids get trophies. As income increases, the percent siding with only winners get trophies increases with 76 percent of people surveyed earning more than $110,000 agreeing only winners deserve trophies.

At the end of the day, each parent wants what is best for their kid. Some people believe it’s better to have kids be disappointed when they didn’t get a trophy at a young age than be disappointed when they are older as they realize they are not entitled to everything. Whether or not parents decide to take away these trophies from their kids or not, it’s important to emphasize the morals on both sides of this argument.

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