Mister “let’s make baseball fun again” Bryce Harper has once again entered himself into an age old argument. Does he enter these arguments because the 2010 first draft pick is tired of his constant (and not always positive) comparisons to 2009 first round draft pick Mike Trout and is just trying to change the conversation? Suppose that is a debate worthy of it’s own article but here’s the video clip of Harper jumping head first into the “participation trophy” debate:

“First place only, no participation trophies” is the exact quote coming out of that video clip that has ruffled the feathers of many. Why? Well, because people are far too sensitive.

For many fans, playing the game at a competitive level is only a pipe dream. The only time we can truly relate to any sort of “participation trophy” argument is either when we were in school and our school had their mandated track and field day or through beer league play.

When I went to school, every student received a little blue ribbon for being a part of track day. Even as a youngster, I felt zero validation for being given a token present for choosing to participate in the day instead of begging Mom and Dad to call in sick.

As a parent, my daughter’s junior high just had their first track and field day. The only times that were kept were of the kids finishing in the top three overall, everyone else just moved onto the next event. I can tell you with the utmost confidence, my daughter does not feel the need to have her effort validated with a participation trophy.

Honestly, would the 2016 Cleveland Indians feel any better about blowing their 3-1 series lead to the Chicago Cubs if they were given participation trophies?

No professional team enters a season believing they will finish with a perfect record. As adults playing a kids game, the sting of losing (used correctly) can motivate you to become better. You lose a game, you analyze what went wrong, you try again the next game. You cannot have 30 World Series Champions but as an individual you can do better than the previous year and as a team you could finish with a better record than the season before. If you keep getting better each season, then maybe (just maybe) your team can the win the only trophy that matters.

Is it wrong to tell kids that the only thing that matters is winning? Nope! It is the parents job to teach their kids sportsmanship and the coaches job to reinforce the principles of sportsmanship so that kids learn how to handle not always winning. No one should like losing but everyone should know how to handle it in a correct manner. Maybe that should be the focus of the participation trophy discussions - - teaching kids how to learn from losing to become winners by putting the focus on schools and coaches to instruct sportsmanship and the importance of practice instead of simply handing out a pat on the back.

After all, there’s nothing worse than being a sore loser right?!

Oh No The Participation Trophy Debate Again

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