Post On Request: When Everyone Wins, Everyone Loses

Just Stop.

Sammy won last week’s Caption This contest, and here is the prize topic he sent me to write about.

“Why does every kid get a trophy. We need to stop promoting mediocrity. Kids need to learn to deal with, or strive to be the best.”

Sammy, you’re not just a lifelong friend and super buff hottie, you’re also speaking words straight from my heart. I couldn’t agree more. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to whip out my soap box and hop on-a-top of it.

Post On Request: When Everyone Wins, Everyone Loses

In life, there are winners and losers. The sooner you accept that fact and commit it to memory, the better.

The good news is, humanity has a wonderful way of individually measuring success, even losers are winners in some aspect of life.

Somewhere in the past 2 decades, Americans decided to shield children from any and all rejection. The evidence is clear in almost every facet of our culture, but perhaps no more apparent than in kid sports.

Once upon a time, there were victors and those who were defeated. I remember having to taste the bitter agony of loss many times in my storied childhood basketball career, just came with the territory.

Of course, nowadays children receive trophies just for participating, promoting an “everyone wins!” mentality. And while I’m all about lauding kids for physically exerting themselves, a simple “Certificate of Participation,” should suffice. Let’s leave the trophies to the actual victors in sports.

As your friend, and completely unbiased bystander…I feel it’s my duty to tell you the following…

There’s always going to be someone: smarter, stronger, prettier, richer and better than you. It’s a simple fact of life. The sooner you prepare children for that, the more successful they will be traversing rejection and defeat. Let’s face it, the measure of character is not how someone responds to everything going their way, the real size of your stones is judged by how you handle adversity.

As a parent, I understand wanting to shield your precious little moon beam from sorrow, I promise I do. But my job as Angry Baby’s mother, is to set her up for success as a human, not insure she gets everything her heart desires.

Sammy’s original topic statement said: ” We need to stop promoting mediocrity.”

And while giving every participant a trophy does breed mediocrity, I think more than anything, it promotes entitlement. “YOU DESERVE A PRIZE BECAUSE YOU TRIED!”

We live in an entitled society…

  • Trophy Wife:  because I deserve to have the hottest lady in the room.
  • Trophy House: Mortgaged up to your eyeballs so everyone knows just how rich you think you are.
  • Trophy Car: You bust your hump at a job you hate…to make payments on it.
  • Trophy Kids: a child that is perfect in everything they do. “Herschel was reading Dostoyevsky at 2, little Lemuel has the world record for kickball. Clovis was voted most beautiful child ever in Parents Magazine.”

You have a choice as a parent, friend, teacher, and adult: stop the entitlement.

Start fostering self-actualization. The best tool for success you can give a child is a healthy perspective on what’s important in life, even when it comes to silly sport trophies. The awards don’t matter anyway. The reason we put children in sports is to teach: teamwork, hustle, strategy, competition and group dynamics. Allow a child to lose, and they will win at life.

Afterall, no one is looking for your 6th Grade Girl’s Basketball “Most Valuable Player” plastic and marble atrocity. Matter of fact, if you whip the trophy out to brag at the age of  24, everyone in the break room is going to laugh and consider you a real loser.


Post On Request: When Everyone Wins, Everyone Loses — 5 Comments

  1. Haha. My mom bought me a four-foot horribly golden trophy from a clearance booth at a dance competition once… because we lost. Even at the age of 8 I couldn’t figure out why we would get a prize for sucking.

  2. AMEN!!! As a teacher, I have seen it way, way, way too often. Kids build self-esteem and self-worth by being challenged and succeeding in something. Sometimes challenges bring about disappointments- hello, LIFE- and kids need their parents/teachers/mentors to show them how to deal with disappointment, not shield them from it. We’re not doing our kids any favors by falsely building their self-esteem by giving them awards and accolades for doing nothing. It doesn’t work.

  3. Kudos to the person that asked for this post and thank you to Crib Keeper for keeping it realz.

    As a kid, I always got a trophy after a season of whatever sport I was playing that month. Obviously, the better team got a nice 1ST PLACE on their trophy and same for SECOND and THIRD. But we ALWAYS kept score (officially) and there was winning and LOSING. Is the problem really a “trophy” or is it the acknowledgement that no one really won?

    And if you want to get to the root of the problem, it’s really not “our” fault that we tend to dull the blade of life. All of this traces back to the Baby Boomers and even the so-called “Great Generation.” Although we might consider the older generations as being “tougher” or whatever, all the attitudes we have now stems from them. So, call your mom and blame her for everything. It’s what I do.

  4. Pingback: Caption This: Easter Edition! | grouchymuffin

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