Anyone who played in a sports league at an early age generally looks back on it as a good thing. It helped build character and show you how to push yourself. It was never too excruciating but it was a way to show what you’re made of. However, in the past decade or so things have taken a drastic turn. And the results will not be beneficial for anyone.
Nowadays, things are much more delicate in the pee wee leagues. For instance some leagues now take a hydration break. In another instance, a volunteer coach was relieved of his duties after making a child run laps after bullying a kid. Lastly, participation trophies; I’m all for a first, second, third type of award. But giving each player a participation trophy is possibly the worst thing you can teach an adolescent. If they grow up thinking regardless of effort, they will reach their goal. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sports are about creating a better you, someone who can endure tough times. You look ahead at these kids in a few years and they have safe spaces in college. A place where they can sit on a bean bag and have a teacher rub their back because someone came on campus with a “weapon,” and I’m talking about their mind not an actual weapon. You’re supposed to be able to express your beliefs and if yours are differing from other students, they are supposed to learn how to handle it. You can’t run from others beliefs, trying to shut it down all together in hopes their thoughts will go out the window does nothing.
James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers has it all right. When his kids brought home participation trophies he took them away until they could earn a real trophy. There is something to be valued in the pursuit of achieving greatness. It’s what pushes an athlete to limits they didn’t know they could reach. Giving kids a trophy for putting their jersey on shows them that they can do great things just by getting off the couch.