By Lindsay Baslock
Awards Picking Up Dust
Think back to when you were competing in youth sports between the ages of six and nine. Most youth organizations offered some sort of award at the end of your season. Where is that award now?
More than likely it is collecting dust on your mantle in your room. Sure the memento is still present that you played that youth sport, but what is the purpose of it? What did it teach you?
James Harrison Returns Trophies
NFL linebacker, James Harrison, has two children ages six and eight years old. Back in August 2015, he returned every trophy they ever earned until they “earned a real trophy.”
He announced it on Instagram and continued to say, “…sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut you up and keep you happy.”
Parents went crazy on social media giving their input. Most of them applauded including former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. He responded, "They don't let kids pass classes for just showing up."
Benefits for Playing Youth Sports
Participatory awards have become a huge debate for parents, but what are the benefits for the children playing youth sports?
Sure sports help develop good character, build self-esteem and the awards are a sweet reminder that you participated. But that is all. You’re essentially getting a pat on the back for showing up, not for actually accomplishing anything.
In youth sports, if only one player were to get an award at the end of the season for being the best player, it may drive other kids to want to be the best and put in more effort. It will also instill a level of humility in the kids at a young age that they can carry throughout their lives.
Losing is a Learning Lesson
Ashley Merryman, who wrote “Losing is Good for You” for the New York Times, claims it is OK for parents to tell their children, “You didn't go to all of the games. You didn't practice soccer. The other kid worked really hard and he did really well and he deserves a trophy and you should go over and congratulate him.”
Losing is something that every athlete needs to understand and deal with. If kids are deprived from the opportunity to make mistakes than they cannot learn from them.
Someday when these kids grow up, the real world will not be so kind to them. Bosses will not hand out trophies for showing up to work and you will not get a gold star for getting groceries or doing your laundry. These things are expected of you as an adult.
If kids are expecting applause for everything they do, then they are in for a rude awakening when they get out into the real world.
Participatory awards are just a nuisance getting in the way of teaching kids the value of hard work and doing their best just because they can, and not for the added bonus of getting something for it.