Oh for Christ's Sake.....People complaining about the rights and wrongs of end of season trophies

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
So for the third time in the last 5 years, we are being asked to stop awarding end of season trophies to all players in a youth football league for kids from 4 years old to 8th grade, and I am so fucking sick of this I am ready to set a few parents' cars on fire.

Yes, I get that Fox News and other comedians who have never coached a sport (or often never played a sport) has convinced every jackass that participation trophies are making kids lazy and dumb, which is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Pretty much everything you have commercials for, pretty every apathetic parent who can't be bothered to drive their kid to practice or eat dinner 30 minutes earlier or later 2-3 times a week, those are what is making kids lazy and dumb. It's not the fucking trophy that recognizes the kid who was tired at the end of the school day but still put on the pads, went out in the cold rain and ran through 90 minutes of drills, plays etc just to play a handful of plays on Saturday.

The people who push us to eliminate "participation trophies" are - as you would expect - in two camps. Either their kids are phenomenal athletes and them posting every bit of gameplay all over their Facebook page isn't enough recognition for them or they are morons who don't look at their kid's face when they get handed the trophy at the end of season banquet.

Clearly, I am venting, but philosophically I can't believe how big a deal this has become in our league. We are facing declining enrollment in youth football almost every year. And while concussion risk is obviously a huge factor, I think that Video games and overbooked parents are as big a factor. I'm a bit proud to say that our numbers are getting stronger at the top of our program as we have focused hard on the safety messaging (and living it) and we have done a lot to help the boys enjoy the sport and feel part of something. And part of that, in my opinion, is the end of season trophy.

I don't know, has anyone else dealt with this silliness and come out with a better solution?
 

nolasoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 11, 2004
6,684
Displaced
If you’re looking to recognize participation, maybe considering giving out morale patches with the team or league logo instead of trophies? I’m told that kids of all ages enjoy these—adults too!

edit: or a t-shirt?
 

brooklyn_sox

lurker
Aug 9, 2010
1
Maybe send them this to read:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/youth-sports-participation-trophies-debate-d10186fc?reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink
It is such a ridiculous debate. My son played a lot of youth sports and is still playing in college and got a lot of trophies and things, some participation, some for winning. Some he kept, some went out with occasional room cleanings. The participation "trophies" he liked the most were things like league branded soccer balls or special shirts. However, his most important memories and lessons from youth sports didn't come with trophies, but you have to get the kids hooked to get there and that is what participation trophies are trying to do. Finishing a season is hard, honoring that shouldn't be a problem.
 

Theodoric

lurker
Jun 13, 2022
5
My go to is to remind the anti-participation trophy crowd that we've always had participation trophies, even in high school. What in the world is a varsity letter if not a participation trophy? Make the team, play out the season (at some schools play a minimum number of games, I suppose) and everyone gets the same letter, whether they were team MVP or third string, whether the team won the league or lost every game. I see no problem with participation trophies whether they're varsity letters, a shiny bit of cheap plastic, or something else; they're just a tangible recognition of making it through the season, and a tangible reminder of all the memories from that season.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
23,660
If you’re looking to recognize participation, maybe considering giving out morale patches with the team or league logo instead of trophies? I’m told that kids of all ages enjoy these—adults too!

edit: or a t-shirt?
Why? It's not about the adults. Trophies are cool. They're great to display in your room and they're a good reminder of a fun season with a team filled with your friends. And you know what, kids like trophies. Fuck those cynical adults. If they don't want their kids to have a trophy, they can chuck them in the garbage. Then they can pay for their kids' therapy bills down the line. Or, provided that they won't do that (and they won't, "Therapy is for pussies"), they can enjoy spending their holidays alone because their kids don't want to hang around with an asshole.

Being a kid is hard mostly because you spend a lot of your "growing up time" getting your innocence knocked out of you by shithead adults who have crap lives and don't want anyone else to have a "better" (read different) upbringing that they did. ("We didn't do this back in my day and I grew up just fine." No you didn't and who gives a fuck?) My advice? Keep giving out trophies. If someone brings up the bullshit participation "argument", I would say, "The kids enjoy getting trophies. I like giving them out as a reward for a job well done and also as a remembrance. If you don't feel that your kid 'earned' their trophy, that's between you and them. You tell them what you believe and you can throw it away. I'm not going to be a cynical prick." (You can skip that last part, if you want.)

I'm sorry for the rant back, but this sort of thing rubs me the wrong way. If everyone gets a trophy, who cares? No one, that's the answer. You ever read about world-class athletes? I'd say 95% of them barely know where their "important" trophies and medals and knickknacks are. The only people who care about these sorts of things are the people who never evolved past a certain age and unironically call Little League or Pop Warner or CYO Hoops or whatever, "the best years of their lives". Fuck those people.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
16,065
Leaving in a bit to the studio :)
If you’re looking to recognize participation, maybe considering giving out morale patches with the team or league logo instead of trophies? I’m told that kids of all ages enjoy these—adults too!

edit: or a t-shirt?
Car magnets. A buddy who ran soccer in the next town would make a big deal of 'sign up for soccer clinics, and get a FREE car magnet'.

He said the response to the free magnet was huge, parents and kids loved it.
 

nolasoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 11, 2004
6,684
Displaced
EDIT: removed. I don't want to run afoul of the trophy lobby.

Give a trophy, don't give a trophy, I don't care. I was only offering an alternative.

65010
 
Last edited:

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
Apr 3, 2001
44,142
Mtigawi
I mildly disagree with trophies for everyone. Let's face it, 99.999% of the kids we see will probably never make it to D1 much less the pros. Learning how to win well is as important as how to lose and being disappointed is a critical thing to teach. It's not a black and white thing, if everyone does get a trophy they're still disappointed and it can be a teaching moment either way.

That's not to say rewards aren't important. Most kids want to work hard, have fun and be recognized for it. I give out common baseball cards to kids after good plays, good practices, if they've been doing to see 3rd party coaching, if they are polite.... really any "good behavior". We give out game balls for the most valuable player of the game, and for any notable (or funny) plays. We will have end-of-season get togethers where the kids can get our own versions of trophies, which in some cases may be actual trophies.

(This is 11/12u and may change as the kids get older, I suppose that it will)
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
“You’re that bad at parenting that this will ruin your child?”
One of the biggest enemies of this has a kid in prison. Like, not "he got caught with pot in his locker", kid from a somewhat affluent household lost his shit and decided to bring a gun into an ex-girlfriend's house. And I need to sit and listen to his concerns that we are ruining his (actually good kid) son when we hand him a trophy at the end of the season.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I mildly disagree with trophies for everyone. Let's face it, 99.999% of the kids we see will probably never make it to D1 much less the pros. Learning how to win well is as important as how to lose and being disappointed is a critical thing to teach. It's not a black and white thing, if everyone does get a trophy they're still disappointed and it can be a teaching moment either way.

That's not to say rewards aren't important. Most kids want to work hard, have fun and be recognized for it. I give out common baseball cards to kids after good plays, good practices, if they've been doing to see 3rd party coaching, if they are polite.... really any "good behavior". We give out game balls for the most valuable player of the game, and for any notable (or funny) plays. We will have end-of-season get togethers where the kids can get our own versions of trophies, which in some cases may be actual trophies.

(This is 11/12u and may change as the kids get older, I suppose that it will)
I think that one of the things that my grandfather (O-line coach for 50 years....) said holds true at all ages, and that was that an adult can absolutely make a 16 year old kid's day by recognizing them doing something well. A throwaway "Great block, John, fantastic effort" costs nothing but it can be the bright spot in that kid's day.

I guess I don't see a kid showing up for practice for the whole year and not making the starting team to be losing, but I do think that individual recognition as you describe is tremendous. I write up an end of season evaluation for each kid I coach with the same goal. It errs on the side of encouraging and looks for areas where they improved. If nothing else I have had a few single moms get handsy with me talking about how much they appreciate that, which is pretty nice.
 

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
Apr 3, 2001
44,142
Mtigawi
I think that one of the things that my grandfather (O-line coach for 50 years....) said holds true at all ages, and that was that an adult can absolutely make a 16 year old kid's day by recognizing them doing something well. A throwaway "Great block, John, fantastic effort" costs nothing but it can be the bright spot in that kid's day.

I guess I don't see a kid showing up for practice for the whole year and not making the starting team to be losing, but I do think that individual recognition as you describe is tremendous. I write up an end of season evaluation for each kid I coach with the same goal. It errs on the side of encouraging and looks for areas where they improved. If nothing else I have had a few single moms get handsy with me talking about how much they appreciate that, which is pretty nice.
Well, for starters, the MILF's kids always get a card a step up from commons. That should be self-evident.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
23,660
EDIT: removed. I don't want to run afoul of the trophy lobby.

Give a trophy, don't give a trophy, I don't care. I was only offering an alternative.

View attachment 65010
You know what, I saw your original post and you were 100% right. I was wrong, I apologize.

TBH in my post, I kinda lost the thread and wasn’t responding to you, actually. I was more responding to the straw man I created in my mind that Yammer may have to talk to. That obviously wasn’t you and I did a bad job of conveying that.

My sincerest apologies.
 

nolasoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 11, 2004
6,684
Displaced
You know what, I saw your original post and you were 100% right. I was wrong, I apologize.

TBH in my post, I kinda lost the thread and wasn’t responding to you, actually. I was more responding to the straw man I created in my mind that Yammer may have to talk to. That obviously wasn’t you and I did a bad job of conveying that.

My sincerest apologies.
No worries. All good.
I don’t have kids & I understand that parents have different takes on the issue. Giving something to everyone in recognition of the fact they that participated over the full course of a season is nice, though. What that may be I’ll leave up to the parents.
 

uncannymanny

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 12, 2007
8,919
One of the biggest enemies of this has a kid in prison. Like, not "he got caught with pot in his locker", kid from a somewhat affluent household lost his shit and decided to bring a gun into an ex-girlfriend's house. And I need to sit and listen to his concerns that we are ruining his (actually good kid) son when we hand him a trophy at the end of the season.
JFC, poor kid.
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
5,233
Bow, NH
My first year playing Pop Warner football, at the end of the season I was given the “Bulldog of the Year” award. I thought I was something special. Turns out everyone got some kind of award. I was 10 or 11 at the time. For the record, this was in the mid-70’s
 

SocrManiac

Tommy Seebach’s mustache
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
8,009
Somers, CT
I don’t have any of the participation-type trophies from my childhood, but I sure as shit remember them and how I felt when I received them.

I have only the vaguest childhood sports memories. The big things I remember from the sport I loved most (soccer) were the parent vs. kids games, the trophies, and the Papa Ginos at the end of the season. That’s informed who I am as a coach. I’m trying to instill a love of the sport, teach some basics, and give the kids fond memories that will follow them long after I’m gone. I do all three of the things that I remember as a kid (substituting actual pizza for Papa Ginos) for my teams, and I hope in 30 or 40 years a few of these kids pass on that baton.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
5,616
from the wilds of western ma
So for the third time in the last 5 years, we are being asked to stop awarding end of season trophies to all players in a youth football league for kids from 4 years old to 8th grade, and I am so fucking sick of this I am ready to set a few parents' cars on fire.

Yes, I get that Fox News and other comedians who have never coached a sport (or often never played a sport) has convinced every jackass that participation trophies are making kids lazy and dumb, which is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Pretty much everything you have commercials for, pretty every apathetic parent who can't be bothered to drive their kid to practice or eat dinner 30 minutes earlier or later 2-3 times a week, those are what is making kids lazy and dumb. It's not the fucking trophy that recognizes the kid who was tired at the end of the school day but still put on the pads, went out in the cold rain and ran through 90 minutes of drills, plays etc just to play a handful of plays on Saturday.

The people who push us to eliminate "participation trophies" are - as you would expect - in two camps. Either their kids are phenomenal athletes and them posting every bit of gameplay all over their Facebook page isn't enough recognition for them or they are morons who don't look at their kid's face when they get handed the trophy at the end of season banquet.

Clearly, I am venting, but philosophically I can't believe how big a deal this has become in our league. We are facing declining enrollment in youth football almost every year. And while concussion risk is obviously a huge factor, I think that Video games and overbooked parents are as big a factor. I'm a bit proud to say that our numbers are getting stronger at the top of our program as we have focused hard on the safety messaging (and living it) and we have done a lot to help the boys enjoy the sport and feel part of something. And part of that, in my opinion, is the end of season trophy.

I don't know, has anyone else dealt with this silliness and come out with a better solution?
Almost all of my peers(58-60 years old) rail against participation trophies, and how they've led to the end of western civilization. That alone makes me think they're actually a good idea, because these fucking idiots are wrong about virtually everything. Your more in depth description of why they are a good, motivating thing, seals the deal.
 
Last edited:

Myt1

off putting, to say the least
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 13, 2006
39,450
South Boston
It’s difficult to overstate the stupidity involved in ostensibly trying to teach kids that sports aren’t only about winning, while simultaneously arguing that only winning should be recognized with any sort of award. Fuck these people.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
My first year playing Pop Warner football, at the end of the season I was given the “Bulldog of the Year” award. I thought I was something special. Turns out everyone got some kind of award. I was 10 or 11 at the time. For the record, this was in the mid-70’s
A buddy of mine won that award in his first year on Grindr. This was 6 weeks ago.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
It’s difficult to overstate the stupidity involved in ostensibly trying to teach kids that sports aren’t only about winning, while simultaneously arguing that only winning should be recognized with any sort of award. Fuck these people.
I would love to have you present that to the parents, but I do think that they would start calling you "Mr. Fancy Boy" when you used the word ostensibly. It's that kind of crowd, tbh.
 

Myt1

off putting, to say the least
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 13, 2006
39,450
South Boston
I would love to have you present that to the parents, but I do think that they would start calling you "Mr. Fancy Boy" when you used the word ostensibly. It's that kind of crowd, tbh.
I do resemble Santa a little too much to feel perfectly comfortable amongst your people.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
28,609
The varsity letter comparison above seems apt here.
Hell, a diploma might be a comparator as well. Everyone gets the same one. (though some graduates get other things, too.)

The non-constructive wiseass response is, "thanks for calling, Mr. Asswipe. When we're handing out trophies, we'll be sure to skip your son."
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
65,613
Almost all of my peers(58-60 years old) rail against participation trophies, and how they've led to the end of western civilization. That alone makes me think they're actually a good idea, because these fucking idiots are wrong about virtually everything. Your more in depth description of why they are a good, motivating thing, seals the deal.
Technically, they’re not your peers then.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
SoSH Member
Mar 14, 2006
8,883
Kernersville, NC
Recently my mom was complaining about participation trophies ruining kids these days. I gently reminded her that I’m 42 years old and received a trophy along with every member of the team for every sport I played from age 5 to about 15. She didn’t have much of a response.
 

Archer1979

shazowies
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
7,399
Right Here
I coached all three kids from four year olds to eight grade and was on the Board of Directors of our Little League. The one constant in youth sports is nothing screws up youth sports like adults (yes... it's not jsut the parents or the grandparents, but the SO of the parents). They come in many shapes and sizes but the two toughest groups to wrangle are the ones that think their kid is going to the majors and this is the first step (the awards should only go to the best player... probably theirs); and the ones that have absolutely no idea what sports are about and believe that its an extension of a play date (big proponent of participation awards). What neither side realizes, and this is important for small towns particularly, is that both groups need each other. I've learned over the years to set the expectations right away at the beginning fo the season and that includes the end of the year celebrations.

To me, the participation awards are great for the younger set. It keeps the kids interested. It gives them something to celebrate at the end of the year and something to put on their shelf at home. More importantly, if the experience was good, they come back next year. Little League, for example, competes with scouting, spring soccer, indoor soccer, and even the constant barrage of video games. There's a point around third and fourth grade, that you weed out the participation awards. The players don't need them as they've hopefully bought into the structure. The incentive becomes the competition. Travel teams, tournament teams, etc. really start to drive the kids. The tournaments will generally give a game ball award to the player of the game for both sides, with an MVP at the end of the tournament, but that's more recognition than anything else. If the goal of the player is the individual trophy, they've gotten the wrong message.

tl;dr Participation Awards are good encourage the player... to a point. Around third/fourth grade, they become superflous.
 

Strike4

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
3,573
Portland, Maine
One of my kids had a teacher one year in elementary school who gave every kid a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the year, with "Best at ______" tailored to each kid. I thought this was an excellent, zero-cost way to make each kid feel special. And then some candy.

Do this for sports, and then give each kid a hat or shirt or soccer ball or whatever. That way, the league doesn't have to blow through its budget with trophies and can still sell the shirts and hats to others.
 

OfTheCarmen

Cow Humper
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2007
4,863
One of my kids had a teacher one year in elementary school who gave every kid a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the year, with "Best at ______" tailored to each kid. I thought this was an excellent, zero-cost way to make each kid feel special. And then some candy.

Do this for sports, and then give each kid a hat or shirt or soccer ball or whatever. That way, the league doesn't have to blow through its budget with trophies and can still sell the shirts and hats to others.
We did something similar the year I coached my son's Mite hockey team. Pic of kid, called it something along the lines of the NHL awards and coach gave a little blurb about each kid. Went over amazingly well and cost about $2 in printer ink and some time with MS Word/Paint/etc.
 

Winger 03

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 15, 2003
1,609
Frederick, MD
My first year playing Pop Warner football, at the end of the season I was given the “Bulldog of the Year” award. I thought I was something special. Turns out everyone got some kind of award. I was 10 or 11 at the time. For the record, this was in the mid-70’s
Along those same lines I got "Most Hustle and Enthusiasm" in the mid 70's for a rec league basketball team I was on. Everyone got something (though I did not realize it at the time), and I was a pretty $hitty player so it was nice not to walk away empty handed after the pizza party. For whatever reason, nearly 50 years later I still remember getting the certificate and what was written on it from Coach Long. Thanks Coach.
 

graffam198

dog lover
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
1,507
Reno, NV
Put me firmly in the column of participation trophies are one of the few things that are RIGHT about youth sports in America*

My first assistant coach for my club team was a young lady who was wrapping up her college degree. Her dad was the head coach for the local USL soccer team and was her coach while she was growing up. One time, after a second place finish, she quipped that her dad used to throw away all the second place medals...

She was on a D1 soccer team, got injured, and ultimately quit. She claimed it was because she was burned out. What she failed to connect was that her burn out was more than likely tied to the above...I.e., taking the fun out and removing that joy to fall back on when you hit rock bottom.

*I think this is super applicable for recreation level sports. They are the gateway drug to competitive sports. If a piece of plastic/cheap medal/participation award gets a kid jazzed to go out and play, isn't that really the point? Like, this is supposed to be fun, lets lean into that. Everything else about youth sports is a junk show. The politics, the parents, the BS win at all costs. People lose sight that these are kids just looking to have fun. I mean, as adults, don't we like stupid prizes? Like sure we make fun of our dundees and other management failures of engagement, but don't we also get excited for message board kudos and tags?
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
19,894
Pittsburgh, PA
I didn't do a ton of team sports as a kid. Once the kids started pitching instead of the coaches in little league, I got beaned a few times and got scared of the ball and quit as a crying mess a few weeks later.

But the one thing I did do a lot of was swim team, up through about 7th or 8th grade. And at swim meets, every race or even heat had a finishing order, and you got different-colored ribbons for how you placed in that heat. The difference between coming in 3rd and 8th was a fancier ribbon. Kids took back a collection of them from each meet, and part of it was the ambition of how many races do you want to run, how many can you train for in those couple nights a week where you're working yourself to absolute exhaustion and having your eyes sting from the chlorinated air. You can also opt for sticking to what you're really good at, and having less expansive ambitions, doing better in fewer events. The ribbons were also a marker of whether you got better over the course of a season, which might only have 3 or 4 meets. For the scrawny, unathletic kids like me, being able to get a better ribbon, or feel like you got better, or on rare occasions just have some memento of that one fucking time you channeled your inner Hulk and actually won a race, did make a big difference, did make kids stick around. If there's two things I remember about swim team, it's how ridiculous it felt that a night's workout would be like 3-4 km of swimming total for a 9-year-old... and the feelings after races, the rare moments where you actually feel like a team and are happily talking with your teammates. Rather than feeling like just one individual who just can't get the damn breast stroke technique right and never gets picked to race it (or whatever).

I think the ribbons were a very clever middle road. They're not a trophy. A trophy means you won something. A ribbon - you can hang that on a fridge, pin it to a wall with dozens of them, there's a lot more you can do, but you're not "putting on airs" to show it off and be a little proud of it. A ribbon isn't just for participation, either - sure, I guess 8th out of 8 amounts to the same thing, but most of the time you have some results that aren't just that! Even if you kinda suck at the sport. If I get a 4th place ribbon in a full heat, I beat more than half the kids in that heat, and it's cool that I get a green (or whatever) ribbon to acknowledge that. It's not saying "thanks for coming", and it's not saying "this says you're better than you really are". But it's marking what you did, and I always thought that was cool and worthwhile.

I don't know what the equivalent to placement ribbons would be for football or soccer or anything, but I'm sure there are lots of options for a thoughtful, conscientious coach or league manager. Some good ideas already here.
 

Red Right Ankle

Formerly the Story of Your Red Right Ankle
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
11,653
Multivac
I didn't do a ton of team sports as a kid. Once the kids started pitching instead of the coaches in little league, I got beaned a few times and got scared of the ball and quit as a crying mess a few weeks later.

But the one thing I did do a lot of was swim team, up through about 7th or 8th grade. And at swim meets, every race or even heat had a finishing order, and you got different-colored ribbons for how you placed in that heat. The difference between coming in 3rd and 8th was a fancier ribbon. Kids took back a collection of them from each meet, and part of it was the ambition of how many races do you want to run, how many can you train for in those couple nights a week where you're working yourself to absolute exhaustion and having your eyes sting from the chlorinated air. You can also opt for sticking to what you're really good at, and having less expansive ambitions, doing better in fewer events. The ribbons were also a marker of whether you got better over the course of a season, which might only have 3 or 4 meets. For the scrawny, unathletic kids like me, being able to get a better ribbon, or feel like you got better, or on rare occasions just have some memento of that one fucking time you channeled your inner Hulk and actually won a race, did make a big difference, did make kids stick around. If there's two things I remember about swim team, it's how ridiculous it felt that a night's workout would be like 3-4 km of swimming total for a 9-year-old... and the feelings after races, the rare moments where you actually feel like a team and are happily talking with your teammates. Rather than feeling like just one individual who just can't get the damn breast stroke technique right and never gets picked to race it (or whatever).

I think the ribbons were a very clever middle road. They're not a trophy. A trophy means you won something. A ribbon - you can hang that on a fridge, pin it to a wall with dozens of them, there's a lot more you can do, but you're not "putting on airs" to show it off and be a little proud of it. A ribbon isn't just for participation, either - sure, I guess 8th out of 8 amounts to the same thing, but most of the time you have some results that aren't just that! Even if you kinda suck at the sport. If I get a 4th place ribbon in a full heat, I beat more than half the kids in that heat, and it's cool that I get a green (or whatever) ribbon to acknowledge that. It's not saying "thanks for coming", and it's not saying "this says you're better than you really are". But it's marking what you did, and I always thought that was cool and worthwhile.

I don't know what the equivalent to placement ribbons would be for football or soccer or anything, but I'm sure there are lots of options for a thoughtful, conscientious coach or league manager. Some good ideas already here.
I like this formulation. Call them Achievement trophies/ribbons/awards/whatever and tell the asshole parents to get a fucking life. The achievement is that you completed a season of your sport.
 

Zedia

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
6,423
Pasadena, CA
The end of year banquets and "participation" trophies were awesome as Pop Warner player in the late 70s. You know who didn't get a trophy? All the kids who DIDN'T spend 3 months running laps and scrimmaging for 2 hours every night. A $20 trinket isn't going ruin anybody.

Here's an idea - announce that you'll be awarding a "Team Parent of the Year" and go on and make a big speech about how this parent made it to every game and brought orange slices and cheered really loud (you know, like most every parent does) and then just give it to one of your buddies. And then sit back and let the whining commence.
 

LeoCarrillo

Do his bits at your peril.
SoSH Member
Oct 13, 2008
9,619
New York City
We used to get a participation ice cream. After the last game of the season. Whole team. Even Jimmy Liddell, who didn't even want to play baseball. So he protested by never swinging the bat. All season long. Not even warmup swings. Every at-bat a K, BB or HBP. I was amazed at his dedication. He got an ice cream.
 

Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
We used to get a participation ice cream. After the last game of the season. Whole team. Even Jimmy Liddell, who didn't even want to play baseball. So he protested by never swinging the bat. All season long. Not even warmup swings. Every at-bat a K, BB or HBP. I was amazed at his dedication. He got an ice cream.
I hope he refused to eat it. Please tell me he refused to eat it. And then it turned out that Jimmy Liddell actually died during winter break but they didn’t want to upset the other kids so the school basically Weekend at Bernie’d him (futurely known as Feinsteining) and no one figured it out until his big sister Katie told young Leo that she had a secret she had to tell him in private and young Leo got all excited that something big was about to happen in his life, but the secret was Jimmy died and she killed him and if young Leo told anyone he’d be next.

so I guess you can’t tell us this is really what happens because Katie still knows where you live.

blink twice if I’m close. By the way, she did that to all the boys. Don’t ask how I know.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
tl;dr Participation Awards are good encourage the player... to a point. Around third/fourth grade, they become superflous.
Agree to disagree, but I also think that travel baseball has gone from being a great motivator for kids to being one of the worst things to happen to the fabric of American Society (totally seriously), so YMMV.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
The end of year banquets and "participation" trophies were awesome as Pop Warner player in the late 70s. You know who didn't get a trophy? All the kids who DIDN'T spend 3 months running laps and scrimmaging for 2 hours every night. A $20 trinket isn't going ruin anybody.

Here's an idea - announce that you'll be awarding a "Team Parent of the Year" and go on and make a big speech about how this parent made it to every game and brought orange slices and cheered really loud (you know, like most every parent does) and then just give it to one of your buddies. And then sit back and let the whining commence.
We need to hang out more.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
We used to get a participation ice cream. After the last game of the season. Whole team. Even Jimmy Liddell, who didn't even want to play baseball. So he protested by never swinging the bat. All season long. Not even warmup swings. Every at-bat a K, BB or HBP. I was amazed at his dedication. He got an ice cream.
That is amazing commitment to a bit. Do we know what happened to him as an adult? I'm fascinated.
 

LeoCarrillo

Do his bits at your peril.
SoSH Member
Oct 13, 2008
9,619
New York City
That is amazing commitment to a bit. Do we know what happened to him as an adult? I'm fascinated.
I'm not sure. If it helps to imagine, Jimmy Liddell had Mike "White Lotus" White energy. Like, a little wimpy. But also a little smartass. He wasn't scary weird, but also nobody gave him any shit. Because he clearly gave zero F's at age 10. I mean, this kid's stoical detachment was astounding. He was just somewhere else. I swear, he'd get hit in the shoulder by a pitch. And just stand there. And the ump would have to tell him to go down to first. He'd just give the ump a blank look, like "alright," set the bat down in the box and walk to first.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
28,609
I'm not sure. If it helps to imagine, Jimmy Liddell had Mike "White Lotus" White energy. Like, a little wimpy. But also a little smartass. He wasn't scary weird, but also nobody gave him any shit. Because he clearly gave zero F's at age 10. I mean, this kid's stoical detachment was astounding. He was just somewhere else. I swear, he'd get hit in the shoulder by a pitch. And just stand there. And the ump would have to tell him to go down to first. He'd just give the ump a blank look, like "alright," set the bat down in the box and walk to first.
That is amazing commitment to a bit. Do we know what happened to him as an adult? I'm fascinated.
He just watches the buildings buuuurnnnnn
 

Monbo Jumbo

Hates the crockpot
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 5, 2003
25,188
the other Athens
...

But the one thing I did do a lot of was swim team, up through about 7th or 8th grade....
Good post. My kids had good rec swim league experiences. The youngest's league gave out name embroidered towels with the kids name on them for time on the team, a red towel for five years, and a blue one for ten.

The great thing about the swim meets is it takes tons of volunteers (including people filling out the ribbons!) . Parents are too busy to be assholes.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator, tOSU Denier
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Good post. My kids had good rec swim league experiences. The youngest's league gave out name embroidered towels with the kids name on them for time on the team, a red towel for five years, and a blue one for ten.
We had talked about doing this for football, with kids who played every year getting a jersey with their name on it in their "High School Projected size" and a patch. In addition, if they played 3 years or more we were going to give them 5 embroidered towels with their names and striping representing the number of years they had played in the colors of the HS team so that they could have ones they could hang up at home, give to grandma and a few they could use when they play HS ball.

This idea went sideways when people wanted us to give them to players who had left the program 5-6 years prior, etc and suddenly it all collapsed under its own weight.
 

troparra

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 3, 2007
1,916
Michigan
Is the argument against participation trophies that we should reward the losers less, but not do anything about the excessive fellating of star athletes?
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
22,199
IMO, it's a false dilemma (is that the right word?) to either be YES or NO to "participation trophies".

Every kid that participates and puts in the hard work and completes the season should be recognized somehow. Whether that's a ribbon or a trophy or a varsity letter or a certificate or a team t-shirt or whatever, the WAY that recognition happens isn't super important. But they ALL should be recognized - from the best athlete to the last kid on the bench. They all matter.

But there also - and I think this is where the "no participation trophies" crowd is really coming from, as far as I can tell - should be special recognition to those who excel. Best defensive player. Hustle award. Most improved player. Team MVP. All-conference athlete. Whatever. Everyone MATTERS on a team and should be valued, but not everyone is EQUAL. It's important to recognize everyone, but it's also important to recognize and highlight excellence.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
28,609
IMO, it's a false dilemma (is that the right word?) to either be YES or NO to "participation trophies".

Every kid that participates and puts in the hard work and completes the season should be recognized somehow. Whether that's a ribbon or a trophy or a varsity letter or a certificate or a team t-shirt or whatever, the WAY that recognition happens isn't super important. But they ALL should be recognized - from the best athlete to the last kid on the bench. They all matter.

But there also - and I think this is where the "no participation trophies" crowd is really coming from, as far as I can tell - should be special recognition to those who excel. Best defensive player. Hustle award. Most improved player. Team MVP. All-conference athlete. Whatever. Everyone MATTERS on a team and should be valued, but not everyone is EQUAL. It's important to recognize everyone, but it's also important to recognize and highlight excellence.
This might depend on some particulars. We're talking about:
kids from 4 years old to 8th grade,
I don't know where the lines are, but I'm not sure awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Area of Excellence for kids, say, 6 and under (the line might even be older, but I'll defer on that) really accomplishes much.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
22,199
This might depend on some particulars. We're talking about:

I don't know where the lines are, but I'm not sure awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Area of Excellence for kids, say, 6 and under (the line might even be older, but I'll defer on that) really accomplishes much.
Yes I agree with that. No need for that with six year olds. I was thinking of kids a bit older than that.