Good Essay About All Kids Should Get Trophies
In life as in any game, there are winners and losers. What determines this distinction is usually the score, but there are other factors that tie into each label. For some, winners are those who are victorious at the end of any engagement, any test of strength, speed, or skill, and the ones that hoist up the massive trophy, receive the accolades, and are at times carried off by their teammates. By comparison the losers then are the downtrodden, the dejected and almost forgotten that hang their heads and slink away. To some this might be an adequate description, but to others it is a stereotype that needs some serious updating. In truth the only losers within any contest are those who must win at all costs, no matter if it’s the dignity of the other team or individual. Real winners are there to compete, and to insure that no one walks away feeling dejected. Real winners are those who show up.
In the article, “Yes, All Kids Should Get Trophies” by columnist Lou Schuler, the poignant reminder that participation is the key in any sport is driven home with both a personal reference and an interesting bit of fiction that he manages to glean from a book his daughter brought to his attention (Schuler 2014). While his views are not always the most popular, as it has been seen that competition and winning are vitally important to many, they are very realistic in the sense that any sense of accomplishment can make an athlete hold their head a little higher and feel as though they have done something great.
Here is where we get a little more real, and the waters get a little more choppy. Winning isn’t everything, that much has already been established, but it is also a tremendous rush that many people seek again and again. A good example as of the most recent past would be the somewhat controversial game that took place between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League’s Superbowl. While the field of pro sports are by far and large a great deal different than little league and high school, there is still the nature of competition, the love of the game, and the overall feeling that one must reach the top, that there is a pinnacle to be reached and only can do so.
In Superbowl 49, the New England Patriots just barely edged out the Seattle Seahawks, and in doing so earned their fourth Superbowl victory. It was an intense and extremely entertaining event and one that many people still talk about, but there are matters in which the subject of this paper are relevant and bear greatly on the subject. Despite the loss, the Seahawks found their fan base still highly supportive, as they were welcomed back to their home state by hundreds of loyal followers and followed on social media by many more. They did not win the game, but were considered the winners anyway by dint of the fact that they left everything on the field, that they showed up to play and did their best.
There is little to be said about the Patriots other than they did win, and afterwards were depicted holding a rather shameful victory parade in which they derided and mocked their Superbowl opponents for little reason, holding signs and messages that were more than a little derogatory to the Seahawks. In this light, despite being the winners, many believed the Patriots to be poor sports and not worthy of the title they’d won. This is the essence of sportsmanship, to show up, compete, and win or lose, do so with grace.
Those athletes who do show up to the game, whether they are skilled or not, deserve the chance to play, if only to show that they are there for a reason, not just to take up space. There are of course those that possess little to no athletic talent at all, but simply want to be a part of something. Those individuals deserve their place, their chance, and their shot at doing something great. If nothing else they have the courage to show up and say “Put me in”.
Winning is a very great feeling, it causes a moment of euphoria that lifts ones spirits above the rest of those that came to compete, giving an instant of perceived invulnerability to the winner at times, as though they can no longer be lumped in with the rest of their competitors, as they have proven to be the best and are therefore beyond reproach. Like the aforementioned Seahawks however, who were the champions of Superbowl 48 a year prior to their loss, anyone can be beaten. There is always someone willing to step up and take that victory for themselves, to elevate their team to the next level and overtake their competitors. The question is, why should those who lose feel all the worse for it?
The answer of course is that they should not. Whatever sport it might be, children will feel tougher, faster, and more skilled if they show but one spark of greatness, even if that is only once in a hundred games. That one moment will elevate them like nothing else can, lifting their spirits higher than the clouds for that one wonderful instant. Afterwards, whether they experience a winning season or a losing one, the trophy that comes as a result of their participation is all the sweeter, because they have earned it.
Speaking from the other side now, winning is euphoric, it is wonderful, and it carries with the feeling that there is a faint, ever-present target on one’s back, a guide to the other competitors to follow in order to try harder and overtake the winner next time. That win is something that is coveted, it is treasured and desired again and again to get that feeling once more, almost like a drug. Some know how to temper the feeling, realizing that they cannot always hope to win despite being naturally gifted or just so determined. There will always be someone better, someone who wants it more, and someone who works a little harder.
Then there are those who think they are untouchable, who believe that their skill far exceeds any others and thus they are that much better. They are driven, born to compete, and humility is most likely among the few things that do not come easily. Winning is meant to be cherished and kept close, to never be shared with anyone. To do so would be to cheapen the feeling it brings, to saturate the otherwise elite number of athletes that can do what others cannot. For individuals of this mindset there is no second, there is no runner-up, and there is no room for those who cannot compete at their level. For a lack of humility one often will receive instead a sense of false pride, a feeling that they are untouchable, invincible, and cannot be knocked off of their perch. These are the individuals to whom a loss, any loss, is akin to a slow, agonizing death.
This is of course the extremist view, but the mere fact that such a mindset exists sometimes makes it hard for others to even feel the desire to compete, let alone strive for something great. Trophies are to many just that, pieces of plastic and fake wood that mean nothing next to the feeling that they are superior, that they can rise above anyone. But to those who show up merely to compete, to do something that might be different and even exciting, it is a symbol of the hard work and effort they have given. To those who just want to play the game that little token is something that they will likely treasure for years to come, and will inspire them to strive to greater heights than they might have attempted otherwise.
So many kids try out for sports and so many are either cut from the team or otherwise left on to fill up open spots, to fill in, that the desire to compete at certain levels becomes little more than a faint wish, a hope to be included. The boost to a child’s esteem that is brought on by blocking a kick, kicking a goal, scoring a goal, or otherwise making an impact on the game is hard to truly fathom, but the effects that can be observed are quite impressive. To simply watch their faces light up when they realize what all their hard work has amounted to is nothing less than amazing and inspiring, as it shows the true effort of sportsmanship and the sincere desire to better themselves in some way. At the end of the season, the trophy is at times the icing on top of the hard-won cake, and is greatly appreciated.
There is no doubt that a trophy is just a trophy, a piece of cheap plastic and faux wood with colorful designs, with a figure on top most times that is painted gold to look impressive, but to a child athlete it is the absolute verification that what they’ve done is worth it. It validates the feeling that they have done something that they will remember for years to come, and will likely use to boost themselves even higher in their next endeavor. Every kid should get a trophy at the end of the season, if only to make them understand how much they are appreciated.
Schuler, Lou. “Yes, All Kids Should Get Trophies”. Men’sHealth. Rodale, Inc, 22 Oct. 2014.
Web. 12 Feb. 2015