Participation Trophies

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February 28, 2012 4:51 PM

Lately on this site there has been numerous threads about how todays kids are soft, have entitlement issues, etc. They have been discussed and that is not what I wanted to talk about.

It seems a lot of people tend to bring up getting participation trophies as one of the reasons kids are soft and what not. Are these trophies that big of a deal? All my kids got these in t-ball and coach pitch leagues. When they moved on to kid pitching teams and didnt get a trophy when the team didnt deserve it, not one time did they ask "where is my trophy?" Now, I think my kids are pretty cool, but they arent the most well adjusted kids int he world. I dont see them getting these trophies as affecting the way they think about things. Seems silly that a trophy would pollute your mind into always expecting something for nothing. Hell, you participated, so you did do something.

While I am at it, is it a big deal if teams use a continuous batting order instead of batting 9 for leagues under 14 years old? Is it bad to have open substitution for these same leagues? I have never known these to cause problems either.

But I could be wrong. What do I know, I played football in high school.
 
 
 
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February 28, 2012 5:41 PM

Mizzoubaseball,

If you're wrong regarding anything you mentioned above, that makes two of us!
 
 
 
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February 28, 2012 5:49 PM

At the age of 6-8 I never thought was a problem. After the age of 9 it squashed the natural competitive spirit that these kids have. If everyone is special then no one is (Wasn't that a quote from The Incredibles? To be honest, I see this much less in baseball. Baseball has a great way of identifying individual weakness and exposing a kid. I suppose some folks feel the generic trophy keeps the kid from feeling bad. That whole Self Esteem thing. I always remind folks that Josef Stalin didn't seem to have a self esteem problem. Concentrating on self esteem and mitigating acheivement usually results in a kid with neither.

After the age of T-ball our teams had a program of recognizing individual accomplishments like innings pitched, best era, strikeouts, hits, and stuff like that. It required some pretty close monitoring of the boys did but it was much more appropriate than just handing out a generic trophy. Most kids got at least something but not all.

As for batting 9 vs batting everyone, it depends on the type of team. Personally, I believe that if it is possible you should try to bat everyone but my philosophy when I coached 14U was that these kids are going to be going out for high school in a year or two and they needed the practice. This was in league play.

Sitting on a bench and not playing, or only playing 1-2 innings with maybe one at bat wasn't, to me, a way to get these kids ready for the competition of high school.

But we did play in games where you played 9 and batted 10 (EH) and in those tourneys I tried to go with a high school type of system so the kids would be familiar with it. Some teams are more competitive than the teams we had, some a LOT more so they would have a different philosphy. There is nothing wrong with either type as long as you know what you are getting into when you sign that kiddo up.
 
Last edited by Wklink February 28, 2012 5:52 PM
 
 
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February 28, 2012 5:51 PM

There's a really funny episode of SpongeBob Squarepants where SpongeBob keeps receiving trophies for all sorts of random things, and he turned out all right.
 
 
 
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February 28, 2012 5:56 PM

I don't know if participation trophies are good or bad in the long term. I do know that sometimes they are good though...

I have a picture with my son and daughter in it after a ti kwan do meet. They were both holding trophies. My daughter had a grin on her face from ear to ear. My son had a scowl on his face like some bigger kid had just taken his toy. He won second place in the tournament and my daughter won the dreaded participation trophy. She was thrilled and he was p*ssed that he didn't win the 1st place trophy. If it had been the other way around my son would have thrown his right into the garbage.

I don't really know what that says about participation trophies per se but that it works some kids and others it's an insult. It can't be all bad.
 
 
 
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February 28, 2012 6:10 PM

I think the human trait of "competitiveness" is more-or-less hard-wired into individuals. Some kids are naturally competitive, and "want to win", while others are not.

Frankly, I believe either disposition is fine, and neither is a major predictor of future success on their own.

I don't believe a Participation Trophy will dampen a competitive kid's personal drive to win any more than a first place trophy will transform a non-competitive kid who let's say happens to be a member of a championship team.

There are plenty of areas where youngsters are rewarded/judged strictly according to performance, how about mathematics or vocabulary examinations? The answer is either correct or incorrect.
 
Last edited by like2rake February 28, 2012 6:15 PM
 
 
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February 28, 2012 6:36 PM

I don't know the answer to the basic question you ask, but I remember 60 Minutes doing a segment on "Echo Boomers" about 3-4 years ago.

From what I remember of the story, lots of sociologists are studying this younger group because they are behaving differently in the workplace. Things like 'great team players' were positives. Others like 'not a lot of natural leaders' were the not-so-positive. The sociologists pointed out, as an example, that as they are entering the workplace they tend to get confused when one gets a bonus, but not all. We have seen a certain amount of that in our own workplace with our younger folks. They share ALL of that type of information with each other (as in social media) and a subset gets confused at times when they aren't all treated exactly the same.

There was also a collaborative (younger folks and older folks together) engineering conference dedicated to better workplace practices for all here a few weeks ago. The point is, someone thinks there are some bridges to cross here!

Going off memory, but I believe I remember in the 60 Minutes segment that the sociologists specifically pointed to the 'everybody gets a trophy' practice in youth sports as affecting both the positive and the not-so-positive things mentioned.

I never took the time to read any more about this. Maybe others did?
 
Last edited by justbaseball February 28, 2012 8:47 PM
 
 
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February 28, 2012 7:18 PM

I remember very vividly the leagues in which everyone got something from when I was little.

We all knew who the best players were and who the best teams were, the trophies didn't mean a thing.
 
 
 
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February 28, 2012 7:55 PM

Here is an article from the 60 minutes show back in 2009.

I think that it was posted here once before.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-646890.html
 
Last edited by TPM February 28, 2012 7:59 PM
 
 
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February 28, 2012 8:00 PM

Here is a trophy I always seem to win when I participate.

I don't want anymore participation trophies!

 
Last edited by shortnquick February 28, 2012 9:13 PM
 
 
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February 28, 2012 8:54 PM

i was talking to a parent a few years back and he said the umpires were instructed to if a kid struck out not to say strike 3 your out but strike 3 your time at bat is over. I asked him if he was kidding he said no. So i guess if you cant tell them they are out might as well give them a trophy.
 
 
 
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February 28, 2012 9:56 PM

Participation trophies are a joke.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 1:47 AM

Count me with like2rake. I don't think, for the competitive kids, these trophies mean a d*mn thing or will do a d*mn thing to diminish their competitive spirit. And, I don't have a problem with recognizing every kid on a LL-age team. It's just how you do it that matters.

My problem with participation trophies is that the people giving them out are so d*mn lazy. How hard is it to find ONE THING that each kid did that contributed to his or her team's winning, comaraderie, cohesiveness, etc.? Don't give away a cr*ppy, throw-away participation trophy, give each kid a few kind words that communicate that you (the coach, the parents, or preferably both) were paying attention and saw what they contributed to their team. THAT builds good teammates, and doesn't overly prop up kids who don't deserve it, for things they didn't do, in ways that only serve to p*ss off the "competitive fire" kids while making the others think they accomplished something they didn't.

This is kind of a tired debate. I'm not sure I am using the phrase correctly, but it seems to me that either side of this "participation trophy" debate has some "confirmation bias" in their argument. Those who think kids today are soft see these trophies as evidence confirming their pre-held beliefs, and those who think kids today need positive reinforcement to boost self-esteem see these trophies as confirming THOSE traits in young people. H*ll, if the research justbaseball describes is to be believed, even the researchers are torn on this.

I just don't think it is that big a deal. It is a much bigger deal if Mommy and Daddy raise that child to believe the trophy means something, and in my experience, very few kids ever believed those few parents who suggested that.
 
Last edited by EdgarFan February 29, 2012 1:50 AM
 
 
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February 29, 2012 5:53 AM

Participation trophies have nothing to do with making a kid soft or not. 90% of the kids who get these trophies forget about them two days later.

IMO softness has everything to do with how the parents react to the trophy, and how much the parents pamper the kid as young children. Like most thing in life, I believe we are most affected by what happens in our households than we are by anything happening outside of it. Excluding a major traumatic event.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 6:31 AM

I to agree that it is the parents that make them seem soft. For example: last night I was coaching my youngest son's team, 9/10 yr olds...it was one of the kids birthday...he had a melt down after a bad AB, pouted all the way to the dugout, then slammed his helmet and bat down. He was the last out of the inning, we are batting continuous, he has not sat yet. When I reach the dugout and find out about the poor attitude that occured in the dugout I told him he needed to sit this inning.

After the game, when the kids are leaving the dugout, Mom looks at me, and in front of all the parents, makes the disgustingly toned comment of " really, you had to sit him on his birthday?" and walks off. Some people don't get it.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 8:04 AM

Participation trophies do not "hurt" competative kids as much as they may hinder the others. For all but VERY young children or special needs populations, participation trophies are one more piece in the puzzle that results in the entitlement mentality. I do agee that it is much better to "find" something to compliment each child on and give an award for that if everyone is going to "get" something.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 8:14 AM

Participation can be meaningful. I know adults whose participation awards I respect even though they didn't win:



Generally, a participation award means as much to the recipients as they put into the participation.
 
Last edited by Swampboy February 29, 2012 8:16 AM
 
 
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February 29, 2012 8:18 AM

Can't disagree with that Swampboy! Point well made.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 8:22 AM

Swampboy - If they didn't win it wasn't the players fault. They were undefeated on the field. Another deal where the grown ups screwed it up.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 9:33 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Swampboy:
Participation can be meaningful. Generally, a participation award means as much to the recipients as they put into the participation.


Yeah, Swampboy, I was going to post the OIF ribbon. Some people forget. 'These kids today' are all volunteers.

My brother has the one you posted.
 
Last edited by AntzDad February 29, 2012 9:39 AM
 
 
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February 29, 2012 12:17 PM

quote:
Originally posted by like2rake:
There's a really funny episode of SpongeBob Squarepants where SpongeBob keeps receiving trophies for all sorts of random things, and he turned out all right.


Actually I can't agree with this quote. Spongebob turned out all wet in my book.
 
Last edited by RedSoxFan21 February 29, 2012 12:17 PM
 
 
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February 29, 2012 1:51 PM

quote:
Originally posted by RedSoxFan21:
quote:
Originally posted by like2rake:
There's a really funny episode of SpongeBob Squarepants where SpongeBob keeps receiving trophies for all sorts of random things, and he turned out all right.


Actually I can't agree with this quote. Spongebob turned out all wet in my book.


Evidently he grills a mean crabby patty burger though.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 1:57 PM

I don't think it is a much as the participation trophy as how the parents deal with the aspect of it. I am 36 and I received participation trophies all of the way through 8th grade and then received participation certificates through HS. I played at a HS that was topped ranked in CA. My parents never made a big deal out of the trophy. My son who is 7 plays every sport imaginable and he receives the trophies. I acknowledge the trophy, tell him I am proud of him, but I also explain every kid gets one and it is how you grow as a player that defines you as an athlete not the trophy that all kids get.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 3:03 PM

I see participation trophies as the gateway drug, if you will to what follows. What follows is not hurting their feelings in the classroom and helicopter parents. On this board are a group of posters with kids outside the norm. They didn't get where they are without being competitive.

There's another thread about genetics. My kids have grown up watching two competitive parents. When I was dating my ex, given she was tall and beautiful, when she missed a short putt and threw her putter for significant distance I knew she was the woman for me.

My daughter left her first participation trophy in the car. My son threw his away at the gym after saying, "We didn't win the championship." In following seasons he decided they were cool archery and BB gun targets.

I remember when participation trophies started in our town youth sports program. When my daughter was seven in a fall sport when asked what I was getting my players I said I'm inviting them to the pizza shop for a family party. It was then I was told I was one of the few coaches in the league not buying his players trophies. Some parents complained. Participation trophies were approved for every sport starting with the winter sports.

One kid asked if we still go for pizza. Apparently a pizza party was cooler than participation trophies.
 
Last edited by RJM February 29, 2012 4:53 PM
 
 
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February 29, 2012 3:19 PM

I would like all of you who have contributed to this thread to send me your address, as I am having trophies made for all participants.

If any of you believe this will lead to the crumbling of your ethical foundation or moral decay, then I will be happy to have the words
"WINNING QUOTE" added to yours.

Thank you all for your participation, this subject
has officially been beaten to submission.
 
Last edited by all322 February 29, 2012 3:21 PM
 
 
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February 29, 2012 3:51 PM

quote:
Originally posted by RJM:
I see participation trophies as the gateway drug, if you will to what follows. What follows is not hurting their feelings in the classroom and helicopter parents. On this board are a group of posters with kids outside the norm. They didn't get where they are without being competitive.

There's another thread about genetics. My kids have grown up watching two competitive parents. When I was dating my ex, given she was tall and beautiful, when she missed a short putt and threw her putter for significant distance I knew she was the woman for me.

My daughter left her first participation trophy in the car. My son threw his away at the gym after asying, "We didn't win the championship." In following seasons he decided they were cool archery and BB gun targets.

I remember when participation trophies started in our town youth sports program. When my daughter was seven in a fall sport when asked what I was getting my players I said I'm inviting them to the pizza shop for a family party. It was then I was told I was one of the few coaches in the league not buying his players trophies. Some parents complained. Participation trophies were approved for every sport starting with the winter sports.

One kid asked if we still go for pizza. Apparently a pizza party was cooler than participation trophies.


I guess your kids are more competitive then mine, or whatver. All three of my kids still have every trophy they received. But not too many since one daughter quit sports at 10 and my other daughter just has one since she is 8.

WAY too much is being made of participation trophies.
 
 
 
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February 29, 2012 4:55 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Mizzoubaseball:
quote:
Originally posted by RJM:
I see participation trophies as the gateway drug, if you will to what follows. What follows is not hurting their feelings in the classroom and helicopter parents. On this board are a group of posters with kids outside the norm. They didn't get where they are without being competitive.

There's another thread about genetics. My kids have grown up watching two competitive parents. When I was dating my ex, given she was tall and beautiful, when she missed a short putt and threw her putter for significant distance I knew she was the woman for me.

My daughter left her first participation trophy in the car. My son threw his away at the gym after asying, "We didn't win the championship." In following seasons he decided they were cool archery and BB gun targets.

I remember when participation trophies started in our town youth sports program. When my daughter was seven in a fall sport when asked what I was getting my players I said I'm inviting them to the pizza shop for a family party. It was then I was told I was one of the few coaches in the league not buying his players trophies. Some parents complained. Participation trophies were approved for every sport starting with the winter sports.

One kid asked if we still go for pizza. Apparently a pizza party was cooler than participation trophies.


I guess your kids are more competitive then mine, or whatver. All three of my kids still have every trophy they received. But not too many since one daughter quit sports at 10 and my other daughter just has one since she is 8.

WAY too much is being made of participation trophies.
My kids were the same way about grades as my son passed through classes my daughter had taken. When my daughter scored in the top 5% on the LSATs my son responded, "That's great. I'll do better if I want to go to law school."
 
 
 
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March 1, 2012 3:58 PM

If anyone would like any participation trophies, I will send you my son's. He never cared about them one way or the other. Now they just collect dust.
 
 
 
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March 1, 2012 9:42 PM

I don't like cont. batting order for age 10 and up. If a player knows they get to bat, then they don't try as hard to earn the spot. Trophies-we had a kid on our team once-age 13 who stopped coming halfway through season and when team won league champions. dad calling looking for sons trophy. Couldn't believe it- Little Johnny didn't earn it.My son hated getting trophies other than first, maybe an ocas. second. He thought it was dumb-he didn't need/want it-think parents do, that's why they do it.
 
 
 
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March 1, 2012 9:49 PM

quote:
Originally posted by twotex:

If anyone would like any participation trophies, I will send you my son's. He never cared about them one way or the other. Now they just collect dust.


On that note, if anyone would like ANY of my trophies, let me know. From coach pitch to college ball. I think trophies are a stupid concept. I know what I accomplished, my team knows what we accomplished. Why do I need some sort of tangible reward for such a feat? That memory means more than any piece of metal that sits on my shelf at home.
 
 
 
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March 1, 2012 10:53 PM

quote:
Originally posted by J H:
quote:
Originally posted by twotex:

If anyone would like any participation trophies, I will send you my son's. He never cared about them one way or the other. Now they just collect dust.


On that note, if anyone would like ANY of my trophies, let me know. From coach pitch to college ball. I think trophies are a stupid concept. I know what I accomplished, my team knows what we accomplished. Why do I need some sort of tangible reward for such a feat? That memory means more than any piece of metal that sits on my shelf at home.
It is about the memories. I'm still friends with some of my teammates along the jouorney. We don't talk about wins, losses and championships. We talk about being friends and the times we had together.
 
 
 
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