I believe rec leagues should foster a learning AND competitive environment. I believe in equal playing time so kids have the opportunity to learn.
But, here are reasons why participation trophies must go...
1: LIFE IS COMPETITIVE
Everything you want has to be fought for. People do not hand out jobs, they are fought for. Wives don’t randomly pick husbands, they are fought for, and there are losers and there are winners.
Life does not reward showing up and participating, it rewards those willing to fight for what they want.
2: THEY WILL REPEAT WHAT YOU REWARD
If the ultimate goal for a child’s future is to continue participating, then by all means give a trophy for it.
But, if you desire commitment, determination and persistence; then that is what you should reward.
3. SOMETHING FOR NOTHING
I’ve noticed that the younger generation of players EXPECT playing time. If they don’t get it, they throw a fit, talk back to the coach, and shut down.
They fail to understand that life only gives you what you EARN, and sometimes it doesn’t even give you that! Kids are not prepared to deal with adversity.
4. ACCUSTOMED TO SYMPATHY
Young players believe that when adversity hits, they are allowed to mope around in self pity because someone will come around and hand you a trophy.
They are accustomed to people immediately trying to relieve their pain and they never learn how to overcome.
5. DEFEAT IS NECESSARY
Kids need to be allowed to fail, to feel the sting of defeat. That is how you learn, by having a full experience.
We teach them that failure is BAD BAD BAD, instead of natural. It’s OK to fail, you don’t need a bogus trophy to alleviate your pain.
6. IT’S INSULTING
I never received a participation trophy that wasn’t embarrassing. Without them, if I lost, no one knew. But, when you carry around a trophy that says, “participation”, it’s the equivalent of a trophy that says, “this guy lost”.