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Participation Trophies: Are They Really a Win?

Some+results+from+the+survey+taken.
Some results from the survey taken.

Some results from the survey taken.

Some results from the survey taken.

By: Samantha Dobbin, Spring Reporter

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America has a tradition of giving young kids “participation trophies” for sports and other activities. However, some debate that it encourages failure instead of hard-work.

A trophy is a reminder of a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit. Awarded for sporting events from youth sports to professional level athletics, these participation trophies are a hot debate topic. In fact, many believe the constant rewarding for mere participation could negatively impact children’s future.

Samantha Dobbin conducted a survey inquiring 123 people around Colonia. Of those 123, 45.5% completely agreed that constantly giving children trophies hurts their ability to overcome failure in the future. Unsurprisingly, most voters have confessed to receiving these trophies growing up. According to Today News, “there has been little or no research to prove the benefits or harm of participation trophies in sports.”

The head coach of CHS’ softball team, Coach Cyrana had coached softball for 25 years. When asked on her stance, Coach Cyrana instantly laughed to herself. “Hell no,” she chuckled, “no need. They’re completely unnecessary.” Additionally, in terms of rewarding children on just achievement, 74% had agreed. While on the other hand, 7.3% had believed that effort should be the prime deciding factor. Coach Cyrana had also elaborated on how trophies are prizes, and to get a prize you must win something. She believed that you should participate for the fun and not for the prize.

From her years of coaching softball, basketball, and even soccer, her mindset is that “they [participation trophies] give a false image of what a trophy is. It should show accomplishment.” An article published on the New York Times had said “trophies should be given out for first, second and third; participation should be recognized, but celebrated with words and a pat on the back rather than a trophy.”Coach Cyrana believes that rewarding these children so much ultimately takes away from actually winning. She had said, “just because they show up or try they feel entitled for some type of award.”

Another coach from CHS that spoke up about his beliefs was Coach Carew. Coach Carew had been coaching girls soccer for seven seasons overall, and four seasons as head coach. Similarly to opinions said previously, he also disagrees with the concept of participation trophies for the most part. He had said that “the idea of a trophy is meant to celebrate an accomplishment as opposed to participation.”

However, unlike Coach Cyrana, he was not entirely against the whole idea of the trophies. Coach Carew believes that the idea of participation trophies are appropriate and that being there should involve hard work and recognition. Yet with too much of these type of trophies, it could “create a lower standard” and prevent a child to achieve what they’re really capable of. He believes that the effect participation trophies may have on children depends entirely on the individual’s perspective. Despite the many different views on this topic, Coach Carew was very clear to emphasize the fact that most people should be aware of: “the difference between recognition and celebration.”

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Participation Trophies: Are They Really a Win?