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Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Undeserved Trophies.....Yay!

My girls finished their softball season a few weeks ago and had their end of the season party.  They had a great time swimming with their team.  They had a great time eating hot dogs, chips, pop (aka - soda - or in Georgia - Coke) and cupcakes.  They enjoyed hearing the really nice things the coaches had to say about them and really enjoyed the photo montage that one of the coaches wives had put together of them.  We love the coaches/wives.  They put in a lot of time and effort into making the girls better players.  They pray with the girls before and after games.  Yay for living in the Bible Belt!  They are awesome!  So, I enjoyed all of this too....except I didn't swim or appear in public in my swimsuit.  But, the last event of the day, is where our enjoyment of the day went it opposite directions.  They also enjoyed getting trophies. 

A-Girl getting her loot.

L-Girl getting her loot.

Am I really so old fashioned in my thinking that trophies should be given to people who earn them?  Is it really going to scar their psyche and cause them to have years of counseling and a scarred self esteem if they don't get a trophy for each and every activity they enter? 

Basically, to me, these trophies were just for showing up. 

Admittedly, they had a much better season than last year....last year they didn't win any games at all.  None.  Many of the girls hadn't ever played softball before.  They had a lot to learn.  Did they get a trophy for having an 0 and 10 season?  Why, yes, they did.

This year, they won 4 games, and looked much better as a team.  But, did they deserve/earn a trophy?  In my opinion, no.  I think this sends a message to kids, in general, to just show up and you will be rewarded...don't worry about trying hard or skill....just show up.  It also, to me, takes away from the kids that may have more skill and that work harder - whether it be - athletic - academic - musically - if they get the same trophy as everyone else. 

It also seems like a colossal waste of money.

Sports are expensive to have your kids involved in.  There is the fee that needs to be paid to the county, city, or organization.  Then there are the equipment needs - like cleats, mitts, face shield (which we got this year for A-girl after she was hit in the face with a ball that her coach hit at practice), and team/individual pictures with a professional photographer.  This doesn't include the gas money spent driving everyone back and forth to all of these practices and games.

In some cases, the fee you paid up front doesn't cover all the costs....which would be good to know before you sign up, wouldn't it?  This wasn't the case for D-man's baseball season this year.  We paid the up front fee.  We participated in a fund raiser for the team - which we thought was just to raise some extra funds for the team - for pizza or Gatorade at tournaments.    Then about half way through the season, we were informed we owed an additional....$180....$40 or so more than the original fee we paid up front.  That may not be a lot of money to most of you, but to us....that is a lot of money (remember - Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover???)....especially when we thought we had paid everything already.  They told Rainman about it first.  He assumed I knew what it was all about, so didn't ask any questions.  I was clueless.  So, I asked.  I was told it was for uniforms - they wanted nicer ones than they could get through the normal route, park maintenance fees, tournament fees, fees for umps for games, and a helmet for my son  (because the one we had purchased for him did not match the team colors ((gasp))...).  The money was also for trophies.  The fund raiser was not actually for the team, as a whole, but to help pay for these additional individual fees.

How about giving parents an option to opt out of trophies for their children?  How much would that bring down the cost of participation in sports?  Will it send our economy into a tailspin because trophy manufacturers businesses will plummet?

On the practical side, my kids started sports much older than most people and I already don't know what we are going to do with their trophies.  What happens when you have multiple children in multiple sports - for years?  Like those that begin with T-ball or soccer at age 3?  Do you have a whole room devoted to collecting dust?  Oops.... I mean a trophy room?

In my mind, it would be different if there was some merit behind the trophies, like 1st, 2nd or 3rd place....or Most Valuable Player....something.....besides....the Thanks for Showing Up Most of the Time.  I think I could find room for those kinds of trophies.....and might even find time to dust them.

What do you think?  Am I becoming a curmudgeon in my old age?  Or am I the only one making sense?  Is it time to stand up and stop the insanity?  (That reminds me of that bleached blond with the buzz cut that was a diet/fitness guru in the 80's.....can't think of her name right now.....but she used to yell, "Stop the Insanity!")

Really, am I crazy?  Should I start a revolution?  Will the economy crash even further if trophy manufacturers only crank out their wares for the deserving?

Let me know what you think!