Saturday, September 07, 2013

Participation Medals

I saw another one of these post blaming all the world’s woes on participation medals in sports. Apparently all your great parenting can be undone by a $2.00 medal.

It made me think back to my younger days. I played some organized sports and truth is I cannot remember if we got medals or not. I do remember playing in little league and quitting after a year because spending Saturdays sitting on a bench and possibly being put into the game in 9th inning to strike out because the game was already out of control wasn’t all the fun.

But the greatest baseball games I played in didn’t have umpires. They weren’t organized by parents. We didn’t have matching shirts or team names. They were the summer days I spent at my grandparents and the neighborhood kids would show up at the park.

Sure, some kids were better than others so we learned how to divide up to make it an even match. And everyone played. No one just sat on the bench because they weren’t good enough. If we couldn’t field full teams we had to agree on rules on how to play.

Maybe the problem isn’t whether your kids get medals or don’t. Maybe it is because they cannot play without it being “organized.” Maybe it is because parents take youth sports way too seriously.

It seems to me that if there is anything to worry about it is the kids who are earning the trophies. The ones with great sports talent who along the way are taught that their sins outside of sports, can be forgiven because their play on the field is so great. The ones who will never learn that there are consequences for their actions until it is much too late.

That seems to me to be a much greater threat than the 7 year old who got a participation medal after 8 weeks of baseball.

The other argument is that it’s not like real life.

It is not suppose to be “real life.” They are kids.

In real life you probably aren’t going to be playing a sport.

If you want to get your kids in a sport for real life then get them in track, because no matter how old you get you can run. You can run 5Ks or 10Ks or marathons. But watch out because you know what, in those everyone gets a participation medal.

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