All too often, people of my generation are plagued with the idea that we didn’t have to work for anything and that everything was handed down to us from our parents.
Many elderly people are referring to my generation as entitled and to be honest, I don’t really blame them.
Recently, the Keller Youth Association’s Football League did away with the participation trophies for the children competing in their leagues. In the past, trophies were given out to all those who played – win or lose.
Why were these trophies taken away?
To teach the children the difference between winning and losing. But ultimately, the trophy takeaway teaches the children that not everything is given to them – it must be earned.
Trophies are now massed produced and are leading to false expectations about sports and life in general. If children are faced with the fear of failure, they will feel everything should be given to them and they should win all the time.
An op-ed was done in the New York Times stating that losing is good for you, it teaches you a thing or two about hard word and self-worth.
Think about this, a now 25 year old began playing sports at the age of three, averaged two sports a year. They could have potentially racked up 15-20 participation trophies during the span of their athletic adventures.
When that same child gets to high school, college or even the workforce, they are faced with the expectation to get a trophy or in this case, to succeed, all they have to do it show up. Not exactly the characteristics a youth sports’ program would be proud of.
Does a participation trophy help motivate this entitlement issue we are supposedly plagued with?
When I was younger and swam competitively, all six lanes received ribbons, two first place, two second and two third were given out. If I got a second place ribbon, I thought I was awesome – but actually it was more like third or even fourth place.
Yet, I thought I was going to be the next Michael Phelps. I thought that it was my earned right but really, I was being rewarded for mediocrity. Do I still have those ribbons? Nope, I did away with all the ones that weren’t my true placement ribbons.
KYA’s decision to do away with the injustice of rewarding every child even made national news.
They posted their decision on Facebook and created quite the uproar but they are sticking by their actions stating that they are not giving children the right message and that trophies must be something you strive for.
In this society, where people’s feelings are getting hurt from losing a game too badly, this is a great move – teach the children at an early age that they must earn what they get.
Our generation has nothing to do but hope for a change for ourselves but it is our responsibility to keep this from plaguing the next generations.
KYA is taking that first step, it’s up to the rest of us to end the entitlement generation.