Debate of Participatory Trophy

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The debate over participation trophies is one that has attracted significant views in the recent times. Many parents have strong views as to whether or not it is really necessary to reward a child for simply participating. Celebrities such as James Harrison, NFL linebacker, have felt that this culture is one that should be abandoned as it has a poor impact on children. He went ahead and even withdrew trophies that were given to his sons as he felt that they have been not molding them to being real men. Many people weighed in on his perspective, with some in aid and others strongly criticizing his move. It is certain that both divides of this debate have credible opinions, however this paper will take a stand and support that kids ought to be rewarded for their participation. This is based on the fact its benefits are far reaching and have a huge impact that many naysayers haven’t put into perspective.

Benefits of participatory trophies

When parents enroll their kids to any sport they assume that their kids are bound to be committed to attending practices as may be dictated by the sport. By this many parents believe that they are inculcating the spirit of being physically active in their children (Alsop, 2008). However in the real sense most cases kids end up not being committed to attending practices or even showing up for games. It is therefore based on this that participation trophies play a huge role. The main goal of these trophies are not essentially to reward for their prowess but it is meant to educate the kids that is worth keeping a commitment (Friedman, 2013). Additionally these trophies are meant to be a reminder to the kids that they are part of something and as a result may increase their enthusiasm which would make them return for another season.

It is very wrong for parents to inculcate an adult mentality in their kids’ lives. For children between 0 to 12 years, the main goal is to make them be in love with a particular game and as a result make them be committed for subsequent seasons (Friedman, 2013). It is inappropriate for parents to be focusing on winning and losing for kids in their pre-tween years. This is based on the fact that those kids that are branded as winners become more motivated to participate and even replicate their success. What about those kids that are branded as losers? It is evident that such kids may feel like outcasts of the sport and as a result develop resentment to the sport (Alsop, 2008). What ideally this does is that in most cases the kid may fail to attend the training seasons in the subsequent seasons and may be demoralized to even take part in the sport.

Despite the fact that the paper has taken a stand on the viability of participation trophies to kids, it should be noted that its effectiveness diminishes as the child gets older. Therefore it would be important that they are withdrawn at a particular age in favor of those that ideally merit to the awarded. When kids come of age they tend to appreciate the participation trophies but are aware that the third, second and third placed award is what matters most. Therefore they will work harder to achieve this fete. However for the youngest kids this trophies hold a lot of value. For instance kids who strongly believe in the power of the tooth fairy or the existence of Santa Claus would greatly treasure being rewarded for participation. To them such trophies act more or less as symbols and remembrances of a previous experience. Friedman, (2013) notes that it is very important that as coaches and parents give out these trophies they inform their kids the reason for their award. Otherwise if this is not done then the participation trophy would become more of an empty gesture. Bronson, & Merryman, (2013) on the other hand notes that kids in a team already know the best player of the team and the one who is less impressive. Ideally this is to mean that kids know where they stand in the hierarchy of ability and therefore the participatory trophy wouldn’t be a way to convince them that they are better off than they really are.

Conclusion

Participatory trophies are very important to kids and as a result this practice ought not to be discontinued despite the growing skepticism over its importance. These trophies have been noted to boost commitment in a child and as a result increase their love for the sport. Additionally these trophies act as a reminder of a past good experience for the kids when they grow up.

 

References

Alsop, R. (2008). The trophy kids grow up: How the millennial generation is shaking up the workplace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bronson, P., & Merryman, A. (2013). Top dog: The science of winning and losing. New York: Twelve.

Friedman, H. L. (2013). Playing to win: Raising children in a competitive culture. Berkeley : University of California Press

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