Political correctness and comfort is the reality of the current generation. Participation trophies are a testimony to that statement.
According to the Washington Post, 65% of Americans say millennials are entitled, and 58% of millennials agree.1 Participation trophies should not be handed out freely in organized sports because participation trophies can create entitlement, participation trophies can detract children from learning significant life lessons, while denying students a chance to use their competitive spirit towards something wholesome and satisfying. Ultimately, will the participation trophies in the corner of a sombre room, create a true sense of accomplishment for young athletes?
Outstanding athletes who demonstrate consistent inevitable talent are given the same plastic trophy as anyone else, because winning and losing are now foreign concepts in current organized sports meets. Parents and coaches alike believe that there should not be winners or losers, because it may hurt the loser’s team feelings. Nevertheless, it is evident that the long-term effects of participation trophies may outweigh the short-term. Participation trophies nurture a sense of superiority and narcissism, prevalent in children who received participation trophies. A study conducted by Eddie Brummelman, showed that children who were over-praised and over-valued, were deemed average in comparison to their counterparts, but they thought they were better than everyone else.2Are entitlement, superiority and narcissism qualities that will help the current generation through their adulthood? Participation trophies should be analyzed and formed into something better to prepare kids for the harsh realities of their future. Ultimately, whether it is searching for a dream job, or finding one’s love of their life, just because you think you are better than everyone else does not mean that you are. Children must learn to deal with personal failures when they are young, to help produce a more humble and empathetic society.
The opposition may suggest that giving participation trophies help improve a child’s self-esteem. Nonetheless, children are not fooled by participation trophies by the time children reach a preschool age they are able to distinguish from those who excel and those who do not do so well. This self-analysis pushes children to drop out of organized sports. CNN wrote “by age 4 or 5, children aren’t fooled by all the trophies. They are surprisingly accurate in identifying who excels and who struggles.”2Those who are outperformed know it and give up, while those who do well feel cheated when they aren’t recognized for their accomplishments. They, too, may give up.
Vitamins, eating your vegetables, or even doing well in school, are all things that are enforced on children to help them reach their true potential. However, when looking at healthy competition many parents choose to disregards its benefits. Competition in moderation is necessary, to distance children from entitled narcissistic thinking, and to eliminate acting out in inappropriate spaces. Organized sports are a great example of healthy competition in a moderated environment, yet participation trophies eliminate all senses of rivalry and triumph. Competitive sports give children an opportunity to feel validated for their achievements, work towards goals, make themselves better people and a chance to direct pent up anger into positive energy.
All things considered, perhaps participation trophies still hold some value, to those who poured their hearts onto the field. Nonetheless, for those who did not attend practices and claimed the benches as their home. The eradication of participation trophies could allow the current generation to gain self-confidence through themselves and not a materialistic item. Learn the value of realizing their mistakes and working through them without feeling as though they deserve something and lastly, to produce children who are willing to work hard to obtain the best versions of themselves on and off the field.