Patterico's Pontifications

8/18/2015

Professional Football Player Returns His Kids’ Participation Trophies…Need To Earn A Real Trophy

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:31 am

[guest post by Dana]

James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers isn’t a fan of those participation trophies designed to make everyone feel like a winner when they really haven’t “won” anything, especially when it comes to his own kids:

I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy.

After the Steelers game on Sunday, Harrison confirmed to a fan that he had indeed returned the trophies.

Those hit hardest by Harrison’s public stand? Trophy makers:

“Recently it’s been rather trendy to be negative toward participation awards and to blame them for kids feeling entitled or not learning to be competitive,’’ Ristau told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. “But what’s really causing that? Is it really a participation award or the environment they’re living in?

“You know, entitlement predates participation awards.”

–Dana

46 Responses to “Professional Football Player Returns His Kids’ Participation Trophies…Need To Earn A Real Trophy”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (86e864)

  2. Football daddy is wrong. Dead wrong. I signed up my daughter for soccer so she would participate. So she would go in there and mix it. I did not care if she was not Mia Hamm. It’s more important to try than it is to win, because when you don’t try you have already lost. And even more important to learn to keep on trying even when you lose. Even if you always lose. Fear of failure is worse than failure.

    Now all together:
    To dream the impossible dream
    To fight the unbeatable for

    nk (dbc370)

  3. *mix it up*

    nk (dbc370)

  4. Fear of failure is worse than failure.

    First of all that statement is ridiculous. Secondly, if you believed it to be true then you would teach, encourage and push toward success rather than give trophies for failure. Do you believe all kids are so stupid that they believe participation awards are somehow more than “you’re a looser” award? Someone needs to explain to parents their kids a doomed to be losers as long as they’re given awards for being so.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  5. No, Hoagie! A for Effort is a valid grade. It’s your kind of attitude that creates losers. People who think that they can never own a restaurant so they should be the best waiter they can be. You can only lose when you don’t play.

    How did the Steelers do last season? Did they still get paid?
    You’ve been in the Army. What are the Good Conduct Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Campaign Medals and Ribbons, if not participation trophies?

    nk (dbc370)

  6. I have posted several messages on this site… where is my trophy?

    I also may accept a ribbon …

    But really, I am entitled to a “Participation Pulitzer”.

    Patrick (ce7fc3)

  7. General George Patton to the US Third Army – 1944

    Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base…

    ropelight (e44534)

  8. Patrick is on to something. If they begin giving out “Participation Pulitzers” and Emmy’s and Golden Globes, and MVP’s we’ll see how fast the left wingers eliminate the phrase from the English language. Cause greedy leftists don’t want to share either their money or recognition.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  9. Greetings:

    So, participation trophies are bad (agreed) but being proud “of everything they do” is good ???

    Are there participation trophies for “critical thinking” ???

    11B40 (0f96be)

  10. Each and every Steeler has already proven his worth and that he is a winner just to become a Steeler. First off a Purple Heart is no participation medal. Trust me, I have two. Unless gtting shot is not participating. A Good Conduct Medal recognizes you have achieved a level of conduct ergo responsibility which should be rewarded. Campaign Medals are recognition of your deployment in battle zones, primarily so others can identify your career. I also have a Bronze Star with a “V”, exactly what level of “participation” does that indicate?

    I believe you confuse participation with commitment. And neither attribute guarantees one to be a winner.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  11. I wonder if he treasured his football letter back in high school, or did he refuse it on principle, only keeping MVP and other such results-based awards? I’m guessing that he not only kept it, but wore it proudly.

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  12. You earn aetter by earning playing time.

    JD (0b767c)

  13. Each school is different, so your blanket statement isn’t universally true. Even then, how many times will a coach put in the benchwarmers once a game has been decided so they can letter? Is that really “earning” it?

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  14. My mistake was treating parenting advice from the National Felons League seriously. I’m not participating anymore.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. it’s just one more thing to dust

    is what mom would’ve said

    happyfeet (7b1a9e)

  16. More kids received a kick in the arse when I played. And it improved their mental play.

    mg (31009b)

  17. 10.I wonder if he treasured his football letter back in high school, or did he refuse it on principle, only keeping MVP and other such results-based awards? I’m guessing that he not only kept it, but wore it proudly.

    The football letter was earned prowler, he has one, you don’t. He earned it, you didn’t. It means his recognition for being on the team, you weren’t.

    Even then, how many times will a coach put in the benchwarmers once a game has been decided so they can letter? Is that really “earning” it?

    Yes it is. If the rule is you have to play and he played, he earned it. A “participation letter” would be if he hadn’t played but got one anyhow. Again, you seem confused between participation and commitment.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  18. You’re right, Hoagie.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. How about this idea. There are trophies for winning. Participation trophies are not given out they’re sold. If some douche wants one for his dopy kid it’s $250. Now let’s see who wants one. Once you tell a leftist to put his money where his sh!t filled mouth is they go mute.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  20. You’ve been in the Army. What are the Good Conduct Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Campaign Medals and Ribbons, if not participation trophies?

    nk (dbc370) — 8/18/2015 @ 7:12 am

    Point of order, NK. Yes, the military has several “I was there” awards. Usually for having been in a battle area for months at a time, under constant threat of injury or death, because that was where you were sent. Also could be for participating in humanitarian efforts that 10yo girls normally won’t see. And Purple Heart? Seriously bro? An award for valor due to injuries- or in all to often, death- suffered on the battlefield , you’re comparing to a crappy 5.00 plaque? I doubt your girl has seen very many cases of men with various bits blown off, burned beyond recognition, or unable to breathe due to some chemical agent. That is, unless the AYSO has changed the rules. Heh, yah- a girls matchup of extreme soccer.

    The point being, moral equivalency doesn’t work here either.

    Bill H (2a858c)

  21. I also have a Bronze Star with a “V”, exactly what level of “participation” does that indicate?

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27) — 8/18/2015 @ 8:53 am

    Well, it’s certainly a higher level of participation than a “U” :)

    Bill H (2a858c)

  22. Well, Bill H, it’s definitely higher than “Present!”.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  23. Greetings:

    Back in my thankfully short military days, the National Defense Service Medal was commonly called “The Everybody Medal” or, alternatively, for the more discreet, “The Everybody Ribbon. Red and gold and white and all by its lonesome. Intriguing.

    11B40 (0f96be)

  24. Well, Bill H, it’s definitely higher than “Present!”.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27) — 8/18/2015 @ 1:49 pm

    I have to think, that since we have a President who essentially votes “present!” every time he flaps his lips, is there a participation trophy we could give him? Maybe somethin Islamic in style, make him feel truly wanted and needed?

    Daddy Steeler was right in this case, for the reasons he stated. Your participation trophy should consist of a hearty handshake and swift kick in the ass with the exhortation to try harder next year/game/job.

    Bill H (2a858c)

  25. Back in my thankfully short military days, the National Defense Service Medal was commonly called “The Everybody Medal” or, alternatively, for the more discreet, “The Everybody Ribbon. Red and gold and white and all by its lonesome. Intriguing.

    11B40 (0f96be) — 8/18/2015 @ 1:55 pm

    Yah, but even that isn’t quite the same as an “everybody gets one” award. The nation has to be under arms in a shooting war. You, in uniform are liable at anytime to be shipped out. You don’t get this merely for signing up. Although, it would seem like it if you sign up and get through basic during a war.

    Bill H (2a858c)

  26. You don’t have be an asshole and get personal, Hoagie. You know exactly squat about me, other than I pointed out that a letter is the same as a participation trophy, and it is. When I got mine, it didn’t require me (or anyone else) to rack up yards, tackles, or any other statistic. It didn’t require we win a single game. It didn’t require a player make All-anything, or maintain a stellar GPA, or any other accomplishment.

    You make the team (however hard or easy that is), you practice, you attend the games and play when asked, you get a letter. Unless these trophies were something other than the ones my kids got during youth soccer, they are exactly the same: you make the team (however hard or easy that is), you practice, you attend the games and play when asked. The fact that you seem to get so personally bent out of shape because I pointed this out suggests you are as emotionally mature and thin-skinned as your namesake.

    But this discussion is a sideshow. It seems that Mr. Harrison is now up for Parent of the Year now, because he saw fit to take away what his children had earned because it was “too easy”, and then bragged about it on Twitter to get attention (which is pretty ironic). Too bad he’s a thug on the field who specializes in cheap shots intended to injure, a “man” who seems to deposit his “seed” to women (who he doesn’t marry), and the kind of guy who would keep a pit bull in his home that attacked his own son (yet he still refused to have it put down). I wonder how he would have taken it if his HS diploma and degree from Kent State were rescinded and returned, because he didn’t “earn” them?

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  27. You could call it the limp dick medal for all I care but you still had to join the military, get through boot and but your butt on the line. IOW, if you managed a McDonalds in Peoria you didn’t get one for participating cause you sold burgers to soldiers. Now can we please stop comparing military medals and service ribbons to kids trophies? If anyone here cannot understand the vast difference between the two I can’t help ya. Remember, you actually have to earn the former.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  28. Heck, if you are in the Navy, you can get a Sea Service Ribbon just for being on a ship for two years. For that matter, you can get one in just one year in the Coast Guard. I’m pretty sure “going to sea” is pretty much synonymous with “participating in the Navy”.

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  29. So the kids don’t join the athletic team? They don’t practice? They don’t attend games?

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  30. Sorry prowler, I wasn’t trying to get personal, just make a point. Since you explained that at your school for all intents and purposes a letter was a participation trophy I understand what you were saying. Please accept my apology. BTW, when it comes to attack you are shooting the nuts off Mr. Harrison. Do you know this guy?

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  31. Okay prowler you win. If you’re going to rename every medal, ribbon and trophy you don’t like a “Participation” award you win. So if one commits for one or two years to earn a Sea Service Ribbon he did nothing more than “participate” at going to sea. I see. I don’t understand your persistence in denigrating persons who are awarded medals and ribbons for their accomplishments no matter how minor you seem to find them, yet find some sort of dignity in awarding a team full of losers a trophy.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie (f4eb27)

  32. Personally, one one one? No. But I don’t need that kind of relationship to know the facts I outlined, since they are public record. I didn’t opine on his character, only on the fact that many of his documented actions don’t scream “good parent” to me.

    Look, I get the whole angst about “participation trophies”. But some of the memorabilia I treasure most are the swimming trophies I have. Why? Because to me they represent a whole season’s worth of effort: 100’s of hours in the pool, hours spent at each and every meet, and the progress and friends I made that summer. The stacks of ribbons and boxes of medals are just a big blur and jumble, and most don’t represent anything in particular to me. But those “particiapation” trophies, they mean something.

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  33. It is not that I don’t dislike any military medals. Heck, I wore mine proudly. But those sort of medals are not medals that denote acheivement, and everyone in the military knows it. When you are scanning the breast of that new guy, did you honestly go “whoa” when you saw a marksmanship medal, or a sea service ribbon? Were you impressed in any way by a unit citation? No. You looked for individual achievement like the NAM, NCM, or a valor award: Purple Heart, Air Medal, Bronze/Silver Star. The mere fact that MILITARY people refer to some as “Everbody Medals” and “Alive in ’75”. The WWII victory medals did not require even being anywhere near a battlefield. There is no shame, nor devaluation implied, simply an honest appraisal of the relative significance of those awards.

    But there, in your final sentence, is the root of your petulance. Those who got things you don’t like are “losers”, but what you got was all well deserved, and should be honored fully by everyone else. Atta boy!

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  34. I was 4-year Varsity in track and 3-year Varsity in Cross Country. I lettered 7 times. And it wasn’t participation that got the letters. It was achievement. For instance, only the top 7 runners in Cross Country got Varsity letters. The rest did not. There were other requirements for the track team, and requirements beyond being there for football, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, golf, etc, etc. Just participating didn’t earn anyone a Varsity letter. That earned them a free potluck dinner at the end of the season.

    John Hitchcock (c1576b)

  35. My only real problem with participation trophies is that they help promote the idea that winning awards is the purpose of sports, so they get caught up in the idea that trophies and medals and ribbons are more important than the experience of competing.

    When I was a young swimmer our league had two championship meets: An “A” league meet for the top half of the swimmers in a given age group and a “B” league meet for the bottom half. The idea of the “B” league meet was that swimmers could try for an “A” league time so that they could then compete in the “A” league meet the following weekend, but they also gave out medals and ribbons to the top finishers in the “B” meet. So it got bad enough that a number of swimmers who had already earned “A” times would swim in the “B” meet so that they could win the medals, knowing that they probably won’t win any awards at the “A” meet. That’s an example of the award being more important than the experience.

    JVW (ba78f9)

  36. And Participation trophies are most definitely for losers and their loser parents. Want a trophy? Better do more than just show up. Better be better at it than most of the people there, otherwise you don’t deserve one.

    John Hitchcock (c1576b)

  37. JVW your story suggests a lack of foresight among the meet planners. Sure, hand out medals and ribbons for the B meet, but make it known on the ribbon or medal that it was the B medal or ribbon and not the A medal or ribbon. Also, no trophies for a B meet, but trophies for the A meet.

    John Hitchcock (c1576b)

  38. My most prized possessions were my cross country T-shirts with the number 2 on the front (signifying those two years, I was the second-best on the team. My first year, the number was 4.) and my track Iron Man T-shirts (signifying more than half my Iron Man practice quarters were 70 seconds or faster).

    John Hitchcock (c1576b)

  39. JVW your story suggests a lack of foresight among the meet planners. Sure, hand out medals and ribbons for the B meet, but make it known on the ribbon or medal that it was the B medal or ribbon and not the A medal or ribbon. Also, no trophies for a B meet, but trophies for the A meet.

    They actually did have a separate style of medal for each meet, with the “A” meet medals being larger and more ornate. Still, that kid who knew he was going to finish 15th at the “A” meet and out of the awards thought it prudent to win a “B” meet medal. After a few years of this shenanigans they started cracking down on kids who were entering the “B” meet even though they had recorded “A” times, and if someone swam an “A” time at the “B” meet they received a certificate instead of a medal.

    JVW (ba78f9)

  40. Good for them. I don’t understand the mindset of those kids. They were there because they loved swimming and the competition. I would never want to go to the coach and say “hey, put me in the jayvee meet so I can win something”. Being Varsity was far more important, far more valuable. And competing to best those Varsity from other teams that had been besting me was my goal.

    John Hitchcock (c1576b)

  41. Lets look at this from a slightly different perspective. I wqs in JROTC for my first two years of high school. Where I went in my third year didn’t offer it, or I would have, erm, participated. Anyway, since some want to compare participation trophies with military awards, well, let us compare.

    I don’t remember all that I got- this was 40 years ago- but I remember:
    Honor Unit With Distinction (the brigade as a whole)
    Honor Company (above and beyond the baseline a a company should be in several areas)
    Commendation (2x)
    Personal Appearance (would you believe 8x?)
    Volunteer Service (12x- yes, I was a busy bugger)
    Summer Camp (2 weeks simulated Basic at Ft Leonard Wood)
    Marksman medal (when we were still allowed to shoot .22 rifles rather than airsofts)

    There was some other stuff I don’t remember. The rack had 9 ribbons.

    Anyway, yes, I’m proud of the small achievement that earning all that along with attaining MSgt equaled. Could this be considered just another “I was there” grouping? About as much as the letters many of the rest of you earned in various sports. It all signified a great amount of work to reach a particular goal. Would I ever conflate my awards as an equal to any military award? Yeah, I don’t think so. That seems a tad… insulting.

    Bill H (2a858c)

  42. “You know, entitlement predates participation awards.”

    Yup. And for some, obesity preceded overeating.

    Does this mean overeating does NOT foster obesity…?

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  43. Mr. Harrison is preening.

    Whatever his policy on participation trophies for his kids could have been implemented by him out of public eyes, with honor. But he struck a pose and turned it into “Look at how awesome I am!”

    PJBoogie (b1a1fb)

  44. Boogie, when I talk about how I homeschooled my daughter 4 grades in 3 years to provide a foundation for her before public ed got a chance to indoctrinate her, that’s as much about the total disdain I have for the indoctrination procedure and lack of education at public ed as it is anything else. Perhaps Harrison, who is one of the best linebackers in the business, wanted to add his voice to those who are calling for the idiocy of “participation trophies” to come to a halt. His voice has more weight than mine on the subject.

    And he wasn’t preening. He was offended. And he wanted to tell others so they could join in and make a loud noise, to work toward halting the weakening of society as a whole. And yes, “participation trophies” are a weakening of society as a whole.

    John Hitchcock (6e7737)

  45. I look at my shelf full of dusty participation trophies and think how inconsequential my life has been…

    Birdbath (3be0e2)

  46. I got trophies for actually achieving something over 95 percent of those striving in that direction couldn’t achieve. Just being a joiner is no big thing, is nothing to get a trophy for.

    John Hitchcock (58f5f8)


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