When I was growing up in the 70's (yes, I'm that old), very few of my friends had trophies. And when someone did, you knew they did something special. In fact, I can't think of but maybe one or two of my friends that had any trophies at all. I had a couple of ribbons from my dad's work picnic where I had won some races and was very proud of those. Later, in middle school and high school, I received a couple of medals and of course, the all time best, a letter for my letter jacket. Do they even still have those?
Now, I look at my kids rooms and they have shelves of trophies. Are my kids exceptional athletes? No, not particularly. My kids are good athletes and would be even better if they worked harder, but yet, they have a lot of trophies, participation trophies. For those of you who do not have young children, a participation trophy is a trophy you receive just for being on a team. The team does not have to place in any tournament or competition schedule for everyone to get a trophy, even the last place team gets a trophy. So, you could have a kid that picks flowers during soccer games and that kid still get a trophy. Everybody is supposed to feel good about the whole thing.
In reality though, the whole participation trophy concept negates the pride that comes with earning a trophy so all awards and trophies lose their significance. Kids no longer have an incentive to do well because they are going to get a trophy anyway. Did we forget as a society that competition and rewards are innately good for us? Without meaningful rewards, none of us would do or learn anything. If you received the same paycheck that your lazy coworker received, I am sure your productivity would drop to their level. That is human nature. So, my question is, what are we doing to our kids if they cannot earn something to be proud of? Are they going to only perform minimally because they are going to get a trophy anyway?
*and don't even get me started on the commercial for a certain pizza place that states that it is a good thing to lose.