Does Every Kid Deserve a Trophy? Ask most parents why they involve their kids in youth sports, and many will tell you it is designed to get them exercise and to establish life skills including teamwork. But are we failing in teaching them that not everyone is a winner because we hand out trophies too freely? It’s an issue that has been discussed for years, and a local columnist (J.D. Mullane of PhillyBurbs) offered his take on whether every child should receive a trophy for participation in a column published Tuesday. He starts his column by saying:
“What would you think of a father who told his children that their shining sports trophies, colorful ribbons and medals awarded at the end of the season simply for showing up were undeserved? That such false honors, typical of suburban youth sports associations, should be handed to talented teammates, and not to every enthusiastic dabbler daydreaming in the outfield.
You might say such a man is a miscreant, cruelly tromping a kid’s “self-esteem,” which the trophies are intended to inflate. Let me introduce you to such a monster: me. I believe the widespread practice of awarding trophies to every kid who participates on a team, no matter their talent, should be discontinued.”
He goes on to explain further why everyone does not deserve a reward:
“When it comes to sports, some kids are destined for greatness, but most are destined to be great fans. Giving everyone a trophy is unfair. It would be national news, probably, if an athletic association announced that it would honor only top players, because this is a lesson in fair play. Kids understand this. It should be explained that the real world neither respects nor rewards those who glom another player’s glory. The sooner this is learned, the better children are prepared to survive, thrive and pursue their own happiness in a highly competitive world.”
It would appear as though the whole trophy situation in youth sports doesn’t reflect real life. Everyone doesn’t win. Trophies and awards are meant for the ones who achieve and go above and beyond, not just for showing up.
Are we failing to teach our children a valuable life lesson by handing out trophies to everyone simply for participating? Weigh in below.
h/t @JDMullane, PhillyBurbs