Skip to comments.The Fallacy of the Participation Trophy
Posted on 08/26/2015 4:21:49 AM PDT by Kaslin
I was in Pittsburgh last week to speak and was bunked down at the historic Duquesne Club downtown. Thursday morning I awoke for a morning run and headed to the riverfront trail. I headed past the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who the evening prior had defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, then past Heinz Field, home of the Steelers. I went on down along the Ohio River and decided to turn around at Peggys Harbor.
On the way back as I passed Heinz Field again I was hit with a blinding flash of the obvious.
Earlier last week we learned of the actions of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison who, upon finding out that his two boys had been given participation trophies, kindly returned them. His response was that he wanted his sons to experience hard work and the effort necessary to attain a trophy. As I ran back I immediately remembered the words of my Mom which I shared at the beginning of this missive. Pittsburgh prides itself as the City of Champions. Championships are earned in the crucible of contest on the field of competition. They have meaning. They are cherished. They are legacies passed on to inspire.
Now of course, the typical news cycle means that the actions of James Harrison only survived at best a 48 hour turn. However, his actions represent a greater cultural issue for America.
The fallacy of the participation trophy has become a philosophy of governance for the liberal progressives of our nation. This mentality has departed our little league fields, where the practice of not keeping score took over. It has now found a place in the actual governing principles, for some, in our republic.
When you hear the rhetoric of wealth redistribution and paying a fair share, it is rooted in the belief that someone must pay for others to receive the participation trophy. Instead of economic policies that inspire more people to engage in the free enterprise system and the opportunity economy, progressive socialists advance policies to punish the players on the field. When you can stand up and profess in America if you own a business, you didnt build that, it reflects a sense that the sweat from the brow of the individual to produce to score touchdowns, goals, runs is no longer regarded. The efforts of those on the field only serves to produce the required resources for some to make participation trophies for others.
We are slowly moving away from what the American dream truly represents creating victors, champions. We have those who through the giving away of the little plastic trophy are making victims.
The liberal progressive governing philosophy is based upon an expansion of dependency; the welfare nanny-state. By doing so, they raise taxes on the producers, the earners, the folks scoring touchdowns for our country. They must do so in order to produce the participation trophy that some will place upon their mantle and it results in a sense of entitlement, and false esteem. But the givers of the little plastic trophy feel good about themselves, at the expense of those from whom they take, by way of redistribution. The result is a reticence by those who are on the field, in the market, because they recognize the diminishing return on their commitment to excellence.
The progressive socialists embrace this principle of egalitarianism and call it social justice and fairness. We see it when schools begin to eliminate the recognition of valedictorians and salutatorians to protect the esteem of others because they did not achieve similar excellence. When we punish those who embody Jeffersons assertion that we have an unalienable right to pursue happiness then we erode the fundamental aspect of the equality of opportunity.
It is then replaced by a government guarantee of happiness, which must be resourced as the goal becomes equality of outcomes.
In the end, the participation trophy becomes that which some long for and worship as they lose their sense of individuality, and the ability to seek out their own personal accomplishments.
If the American Republic is to be restored, we must realize the fallacy of the participation trophy. We have to understand as my Mom taught me; that self-esteem comes from doing estimable things like using your own initiative, investment, ingenuity, and innovation to build a business and grow our economy. We fail when the resources and investments necessary for the opportunity economy are usurped and redistributed to a central government in order to produce the inane little plastic trophies.
Constitutional conservatives understand that we do need a safety net, but it is meant to bounce back up and get back into the pursuit of happiness and personal achievement. Progressive socialists feel good about giving away the participation trophy, but in the end the metaphorical hammock only expands the welfare state and grows dependency.
In 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a speech entitled A Time for Choosing. James Harrison made an important choice for his two boys. What choice shall we make for our children and grandchildren all for the sake of our country, and their future?
Shall we choose to make a new generation of champions, or advocate for more participants?
Then why are Lindsey Graham, Chris Chistie, Gilmoure and others running if there is no participation trophy?
Could stuff like this be why a Trump or a Cruz are running?
Another name for second place is FIRST LOSER.
Paul’s response? “You work or you don’t eat.”
The also-rans’ participation trophy is the donor cash they get to keep after they are defeated.
Gilmoure will walk away with a nice consolation prize of at least $50.
You totally let down the team and yourself..here have a trophy.
Just the progression of the progressive’s efforts to turn out future warriors into wimps! I am sure the more than 500 people on a train bound for Paris are happy and thankful that some American warriors took a dangerous matter into hand at the risk of their own lives rather than sit like sheep and wait for the inevitable, which is what the progressives would have cowered to.
This is a non-issue and nothing new. I grew up in the 80s and got participation trophies. We used the participation trophy to bribe our 4 year old son into playing soccer and now he is 6 and the league MVP. Never would have tried it without the trophy so for us it was a positive. Now I agree with the arguments against once they get a little older, but these kids aren’t stupid. They know they haven’t won anything. The new trend is not keeping score. That is far more dangerous.
Allen, thank you for using the term “free enterprise” and not the Marxist term “capitalism”.
Kill PC too. Run over it. Back up. Repeat over and over again. It works hand in hand with egalitarianism.
> Championships are earned in the crucible of contest on the field of competition. They have meaning. They are cherished. They are legacies passed on to inspire.
The author gets it. People use competition to excel and become the best they can be. This system has produced the best athletes, musicians, and artists since the beginning of time. It makes us strive to do better for ourselves. It is good for humanity to make us better. The leftists don’t like it because they’re uusally of the feminine type and non-athletic. I say to them go find something you’re good at and complete too; something like a spelling bee or chess champion. There’s nothing wrong with that either.
“When You Can’t Bug Out Trophy”
Several years ago, an old Army officer was talking about how his outfit would start bugout when they got the signal; the women in his outfit didn’t have enough upper body strength to load their heavy equipment in the trucks. There weren’t enough men in their outfit to fill in the gap. So, they just didn’t bug out. - Luckily, the enemy wasn’t incoming & it was just a drill. One day, it won’t be a drill.
THe not keeping score thing has value for kids who are 6-7 years old. Many of them can not swing the bat (too heavy), or catch and throw very well. There is no point in keeping score when you are trying to teach the fundamentals of the game.
At age 8+ they start keeping score and statistics.
I didn’t begin playing baseball (t-ball/coach pitch) until I was in the spring of 2nd grade. My oldest son started in the “older” league this spring (2nd grade) and did very well because he was strong enough to swing, had good eye/hand to catch, and could throw fairly well. He has experience for the previous years “no score” leagues. His team (had the best record overall) lost in the second round of the playoffs and didn’t make it to the championship game.
My youngest was in a “no score” league because he was not strong enough to swing for the fences, could throw OK, but catching was problematic. Attention span for these ages is also very low.
They gave out participation trophies at both levels, and the kids value them. It makes them want to play again the following year.
I don’t detest the practice, but it wasn’t what I grew up with.
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