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HOT TOPIC! PARTICIPANT TROPHIES

Trophies are 10% of our business so my living doesn’t depend on them and I can perhaps claim a bit of objectivity. Regularly I hear vehement opinions on several sides of this issue.

“Let ‘em learn how to play well enough to EARN a &*%^$ trophy!” said one friend. And there was the media story about the NFL player who returned his kids trophies for that very reason.

I get that, I do, but I see several other ways of looking at the issue.

Many kids, who will never EARN a trophy by their athletic talent may well deserve to be recognized for the effort it takes to show up and work at something he or she has NO potential for. It is tough to show up week after week knowing you’d be chosen last no matter how hard you try.

Are we recognizing the ‘deserving’ for anything other than natural talent? Does that really merit special recognition?

Perhaps it would be best to see team trophies as mementos – reminders of a time of team membership. It is so easy in a busy life to forget such experiences. When we, as adults, go to conferences or training programs we often come away with a certificate. That serves the same purpose as trophies for the whole team of 3rd graders playing soccer. It is a memento, a reminder later on of a time when we made an effort - in a group of others making the same effort – and it’s worth a tangible reminder.

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