Thursday, March 08, 2007

"How You Play The Game?"

Participation trophies need to stop!
It's really enough with this stuff. Every kid who runs around on a field like a spastic dwarf doesn't automatically deserve an award for doing so.
When I was a kid a trophy meant something. It was an symbol of accomplishment. For being the best individual or a member of the best team. In other words, you needed to earn it! If you didn't earn it, that meant you just had to work harder the next time.
Striving to be the best at something is what it should be about. However, these days just participating is enough.
What does this say to the kid who stays later at practice? The one who works and works at being better and better?
It basically says.... "That's nice, but your work is as valuable as the kid who only comes to every third practice, doesn't improve, and acts as a drain on the entire team."
Screw that!
Children these days have no sense about the real world. The world they will have to enter one day after their parents cut the strings when they turn 30! In the real world just showing up isn't enough. It's what you do when you get there that counts. Telling children "You don't have to try to be the best, you just need to show up" is counter productive nonsense.
And I realize that every child isn't going to be a good athlete. Some of them just have no natural ability and that's okay. Not every kid needs to compete in sports to have a worthwhile existence. If they suck at sports buy them a paint brush. If they can't paint, get them and instrument. I don't care how many girls the Captain of the Football Team gets... The guy playing the guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan will ALWAYS get more!
The point is, everybody has a talent for something. Music, arts, sports, science...
Continuing to "reward" children for just showing up and pushing them into sports that they'll never be good at isn't making you a better parent. It's making them resent you!
One day, they'll wake up and discover the world is a tough place and that they have no ability or skills to deal with it. That life isn't fair and no one cares if you show up at all. Not when there are ten people standing behind you ready to take your place.
Then they'll come to you, confused, and unsure of what happened. Just point to the participation trophies and smile.... Just like you do now.