Participation Trophies – “Special” or “Harmful”

HBO Real Sports aired a story recently about participation trophies for youth programs, i.e. regardless of winning or losing, everyone gets a trophy. The piece examines the long-term implications of participation trophies, essentially asking is this a good idea for the next generation and our culture.

Pro: It’s just a trophy or a ribbon. It makes the kid feel good about being on a team, competing and having fun. They don’t feel left out or “less than” their peers who won the league. It makes every kid feel special. It raises their self-esteem. It’s a big “atta-boy.” Parents feel good about it and the kids feel good about it. It reinforces the notion that sports is fun and increases the odds that a child will want to return to play other sports/get another trophy.

Con: It actually harms a child to constantly praise a child for merely showing up. It artificially raises pseudo-self esteem. The trophy actually takes away the motivation to improve… it keeps kids from feeling frustration and I experiencing failure. The experts (researchers, psychiatrists and doctors) in the segment say this is doing our kids no favors. When they get to college/work and struggle, they are more likely to give up than dig in. They are more likely to blame their professor/boss instead of looking inside themselves. Why? Because they have always been told that they are special. This is why they quote a study that documents that over 50% of college students believe they should get at least a B just for showing up and participating. This sense of entitlement is dangerous for our culture.

Dr. Hoedel’s Perspective: I’m old school on this one. I think participation, competition, teamwork and enjoyment should be its own rewards for participating in sports. I say skip the additional fee of the trophy and hold a team banquet at Dairy Queen.  I believe that a coach, parent and teammates can do a better job of improving self-worth throughout the season than a trophy can provide after the season. I believe that building character is more important than trying to give a child self-esteem via a ribbon. Learn to lose with dignity, applaud those that bested you and work hard to improve. I believe these lessons will translate from the athletic field to school, college, career and life. As Hellen Keller once wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Your Turn: Please provide your name, email and comments below. Please use respectful language and don’t bash those who provide a different point of view. 

1) What is your opinion of participation trophies/medals/ribbons? Use complete sentences. Please provide a thorough argument like I did above. Compare and contrast.

Comments 163

  1. I believe that there is a line when children should and shouldn’t get a participation trophy. When they get to a certain age, it is not necessary for older children to get a trophy. They need to know that you have to work for your rewards and that not everything is fair. I look at all my trophies and I wish that I didn’t have so many. I have probably 50 ribbons that are just taking up space. I never had to work for most of them either. My parents have taught me that rewards come with hard work, not just showing up and expecting to do good. There needs to be some tough love for kids these days, because other wise they won’t be prepared for real life.

    1. I agree with you Sydney. I believe that young children should get a participation trophy, for they are young and still don’t understand. However, as they get older and starting to understand the real world, they shouldn’t get participation trophies anymore. They should learn to be tough and hard-working or they wouldn’t be prepared for real life.

          1. I think that participation trophies are good but like Sydney said it isn’t necessary. for older kids so that they can be ready for the real world.

      1. No way. This is a huge part of the reason that kids have an unbelievable sense of entitlement these days. They lay around, getting fat, playing video games. There isn’t even a desire to play say, street hockey, anymore. When’s the last time you’ve seen kids in the street playing hockey? Never. Why? Because nobody is waiting to hand them a trophy afterwards. Look at the riots in our U.S. city streets lately. These are kids who are a direct result of participation trophies, false accomplishments, and constantly being told that they are special for absolutely doing nothing. Now, they think they are ENTITLED to loot, damage property, harm other people….until they “get their way”….or, until they “get their trophy”.

        1. Yeah sometimes kids get lazy and they don’t do stuff but do you understand the pressure that kids are under these days do you understand how hard it is to be themselves? No, I didn’t think so. Participation trophies while they could be bad also bring a good side. I know that when I get one I am mad and I work harder so that next time I don’t get one. Participation trophies push me to do better and they make me feel bad. Making me push harder to do better.

        2. (btw I totally agree with you, but I am doing a debate about this topic and I am just trying to get ready) I see your point, but what about little kids who don’t see the importance in awards. They may see there other little friend get an award and get upset about not getting one because they think they did equal work but there was only one winner. Participation awards can be very motivating toward kids, especially at young ages. They might get one from playing soccer and want to play soccer next year too and possible join other sports and school clubs.

          1. Kaylee
            I can see your point, however, I will have to disagree with you. If a child sees another child getting a trophy and they don’t, yes they will be disappointed but in their disappointment comes many lessons needed to develop in them a strong sense of self. Like the lesson of resilience and perseverance. If they don’t experience defeat they will never appreciate what it takes to win nor will they know how to handle If at first you don’t succeed try and try again. This teaches them that to get what they want in life, they have to work hard and never give up. It teaches them humility and how to be supportive of others and most importantly it teaches them self- discipline and responsibility. Whether or not they continue to pursue the activity isn’t because they lost, it is their choice.

      2. You are right, because they will never know to work hard in the real life if they get a trophy just for participate every time so when they get older, they have to work for that trophy.

    2. I kind of agree with you. I think that younger kids who work hard should receive trophy. Because if a kid does not try at all and still receive a reward will do the same thing next year and this may spread through there such as they stop trying during school.

      1. How about not giving out anything??? Why cant that be an option…by giving awards out you telling it’s ok if they look down on others

    3. I agree with Sydney Tlam because, young kids should get a trophy because they are young and they want to fell like they dissirve it. Pluse older kids are better at earning trophys, so then the older kids can improve to get better so they can get a trophy.

      1. i disagree kids should want to earn the trophies and not just get it for showing up. Kids need to work to earn there rewards, and not just receive. For example it feels like getting a reward for waking up and that not really fun and it is just annoying. So stfu

      2. I dissagree kids should try to earn the trophies and not just get them for participating. When I was around 10 or 11 I played in a softball team and I was terrible. My bestfriend carried the whole team, but all she got was a participation trophie. When I was 15 I played volley ball. No matter how much skill you had you were equally rewarded.

      1. I disagree with you Kara, your kids will never get better when the receive a trophy for trying a little bit. Trophies should be given to kids who put in the effort into being the best they can be. I believe that trophy’s should be given to the kids that are the best player on the team, like MVP, not the kids who go out and sit bench the entire game. As a student athlete who strives to go far in sports, I would never want to receive a trophy for being there. I want to receive a trophy for being the best on the court.

    4. i agree with you. when i was younger i always got trophies and like you my parents tought me to work for what i have. its annoying that kids get them when ever

  2. There is a happy medium. I went to a camp where everyone got a medal and the best in the class got a belt buckle and the runner-up got a gift card. Showing in 4-h livestock is the same way. Everyone gets a ribbon for their animal but it depends on how good 1.) you are showing the animal and 2.) how good/tame the animal is. If you get first in your class then you get an opportunity to win a trophy. If everywhere did this I think everyone would be happy and stop complaining.

  3. i think they are a bad idea because they dont teach the kids a lesson. they just the kids tha they dont have to try becuase they just ave to show up to win.

      1. It shows that the kids don’t have to work to be rewarded and that they can be lazy. This is coming from a kid that won a participation trophy before!

      2. Well, just having fun isn’t everything. It’s also about character development and actually learning how to be a somewhat better person, whatever skill it should be that they are practicing.

      3. In order to enjoy a sport you have to win. If sports were meant for having fun, than everybody would be participating.

  4. In my mind participation trophies should NOT be available. It makes every kid feel the same. The kids that tried their hardest and poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this and win , but then the 10th place winner gets the same thing as them. It’s a very controversial subject and can be torn 20 different ways. I like the idea of a banquet or if your a parent and your child loses tell them to practice harder and put more effort into the your passionate about. If your really passionate about a sport or your grades, you WILL want to strive and be the first place winner. But the people who get trophies for just showing up say oh well and basically give up.

  5. My opinion is that if you go out for a sport you go out to win. You don’t go out to get a trophy for nothing that you did. Yes, your kid might have worked hard and did not get a trophy because they didn’t win but that just makes them work harder and then maybe next time they will get one. You need to learn in life that you don’t always win and life is not fair and it never will be you need you know how to win in life and getting a trophy every time you do something with a team. You need to know things like how to win and not just do nothing and then get a trophy.

    1. As a long time little league coach, I thought and discussed about the issue of trophies quite a bit. One conclusion was that when a coach presents a trophy it is important to tell the kid why they earned that trophy. Usually a trophy represented their hard work, growth, specific success indicators, joy and a the good times with new friends. Most kids put the trophy on a shelf with a variety of other tokens of childhood endeavors and likely they think about those good feelings that they got when they were in that sport. They can say to themselves, ” I did that”, rather than “we won the championship” Winning in team sports is so rare and no matter how hard you try as an individual, winning is not within a kids influence. Telling kids they are not winners because their team doesn’t win first place is one of messages communicated with only awarding first place trophies. The connection that winning in sports is winning in life is a message for the few. For my kids, their collection of awards sit on their childhood dresser top and we occasionally talk about the good times in sports and other activities despite never having won a single championship. The collection of awards is a foundation that built them into successful adults with a lot of skills, many learned in youth activities. In good coaching and parenting, pointing out the success indicators as they happen is a key and the trophy become a token of the acquired successes.

  6. I say that effort should be rewarded, but only true effort. None of this “Oh! You showed up and did absolutely nothing! Have a trophy!” That’s not okay! If a person does everything in their power to do something and fails, but they put everything they had, and then some, into doing the thing in question, then, and only then, should they get a trophy for failing. Otherwise, the winners win, and the losers loose, plain and simple. Sure, people may be crushed by failure, but that doubles back on them later as fuel to try harder.

  7. My opinion on whether or not to give trophies/awards kids who tried but not win is to not give them any trophies at all until they do win 1st-3rd place. If you do decide to give them trophies then all you do is give them the confidence to do it again but not any harder than the last time they did a certain thing such as sports, school, et cetera. When they go out in the real world the guy/gal is stressed of some sort and is confused about why they don’t have a decent life. He/She will probably not have a job and will probably have to live with their parents/siblings/friends. That is why you should not give your kid any kind of trophies if they did not get 1st place.

  8. I think it go either way its good in a way but sometimes it could be bad because when you are older and have all these trophy’s you brag that you were so good when you where little. But I also that that they are great because they tell the kid that they tried. Its also good that they reward the kids because then they may not drop oit of sports because they think they suck and they will keep going out for sports and trying hard to get the first place reward.

  9. This is how I see it, if you reward the kid they are going to be really proud of themselves. I think it really helps them feel more confident about themselves, but I can also see where it could be a bad thing. I don’t think though that you shouldn’t give them something in return. Like maybe just a certificate. If you just give the good kids the trophies that’s going to make them feel like they are better then everyone else and get really cocky! I can tell you that for a fact, because that has happened at my school. The better “players” get really cocky so they think they own the place. That is not how it should be. Plus if you only let the “good players” play, how in the world are the others players ever going to learn how to get better if you never let them play? That’s it, they won’t. So if you give the “kids that aren’t the best” something else in return, then you’re going to see more improvement. But what you can’t just do is tell them that they did a great job when they get the reward. The couch should tell them even though they did do their best, they need to work a little harder to get better. If I saw a player working their butt off and trying to learn more then the player that hardly even tries but is still the best player, I’ll reward the worse player for working their tail off. I see it both ways here, but it’s more so the couches fault if they don’t tell them what they are doing wrong. So I see it as, you either treat everyone the same or just don’t do anything at all.

  10. In my personal opinion, I agree with Dr. Hoedel on how it is a problem and is doing nothing to help young athletes improve their own character. When I was little, I went out for youth soccer. Needless to say, my team never won a game that spring, and I learned very little about the game of soccer. But, just like the everyone else, I still received a small participation trophy, and I still have it to this day. I hate that trophy. Every time I see it, I am reminded how angry I felt at the fact that we never won one game. If anything came of that, it was a hate of participation trophies, and a determination to never accept any award in sports that I didn’t earn with my team. I was raised in a house where winning wasn’t always the goal. The goal was to try your best, no matter what. And I can say that it sure wasn’t about the trophy. I am glad I was raised this way, because I think that it has made me a better person in the long run.

  11. I feel like for kids it should be allowed like ages 3-6 should get a trophy, medal, or a ribbon. Little kids it is okay because they probably don’t know any better. Those are the ages I would stop though because they wouldn’t know any better and keep expecting it. They won’t learn from it. Like if you get last you shouldn’t get a metal or a trophy because you maybe have not gave all of your effort. My coaches always tell me to give 110%. If I was the age I am now or older I wouldn’t want a participation award. If I would I wouldn’t want it. I want them to realize that nothing comes cheap. If you mess up you learn from your mistakes. I want the kids to know that.

  12. I think partipating for medals and trophies is ok because if you really want the trophy you will learn how to work together with your team.

  13. I think it’s a good and bad idea because it could go either way. For example the good is that it helps kids get their hopes up and not think they are losers. But the bad is that they might think they are really good when they did bad and that getting a trophy is good enough for them and stop trying.

  14. This story was very good, mostly it was talking about how it is great to have trophies. In my opinion, I disagree because some kids just get these trophies for just being there. Honestly, that isn’t reward. It’s not giving the kids who worked hard something they can just get like everyone else. It’s a 50/50 situation in my opinion.

  15. I don’t think trophies are good i don’t think there should be any for youth they just need to know that they did good , if you give one kid a ribbon he will show off it of, but if we hand out nothing they all feel like winners (or losers) but the point is there all equal .

  16. I feel that you should get one when you are in youth sports but once you begin to be in middle school or high school level sports these should go away because you need to experience failure not everything should just be handed to you and if you don’t get a medal you will work that much harder to get that medal next time and if you quit cause you didn’t get a ” participation medal” you shouldn’t be playing anyways.

  17. I believe giving awards just for participation is harmful. No matter what age you are there is a social ladder, there are people at the bottom of the ladder and there are people at the top of the ladder. And the earlier that kids learn this the better chance they will have at success.

  18. I agree with what this article states for the most part. I believe that every kid feels more special or noticed when they receive a trophy, but they feel way more special as when only one or a few people get trophies and they are one of them. You can’t just hand out things to people because then they are always going to expect something even when they don’t deserve it. We need to realize that there is always going to be someone better and there is always room for improvement. So with that i believe that once kids start getting older, they should only hand out awards to the people that deserve it.

  19. I believe that in some cases, trophies should be given, but in sports, trophies shouldn’t be given, because some kids get really cocky, and will begin to tease and harass other kids about them not getting the trophy, and how they were better than everyone else.

  20. I think it is nice to give kids participation trophies but it is not fair for the people who actually tried really hard to get one, and by every kid to receive one it looks like everyone did the same and put in the same amount of effort.I do agree that the child will give up and think just participating is enough. Instead of giving the child a ribbon they should have a team banquet and talk about the things they can improve on instead of handing out ribbons for showing up.

  21. I think getting awards or trophies is good because it shows what you have accomplished in the future and it makes you want to succeed again in life and try reaching your goal again. i think also that Participation awards are not a big deal unless it like younger ages.

  22. I believe that sometimes it could be bad because it doesn’t teach kids to try harder. For example if you don’t do anything in a sport and you get a medal then it’s telling you that it’s ok to not try.

  23. My opinion on trophies, ribbons and medals in sports can be a good thing and a bad thing. Good by rewarding the people who successfully won or beat the other person or team. It could be bad because some people believe everybody should receive a “trophy” just because they participate in the game but that can lead into people thinking they should always receive something even though i believe they shouldn’t.

  24. I agree with the text that says a trophie isn’t everything and it won’t really help people improve that much to when they get into college. I agree because it’s better being told your doing good and strenghthining your knowledge while learning not just being confident with a trophie because you won’t always get one. Only by a experience a person can learn.

  25. I agree with Dr. Hoedel’s Prespective on kids earning trophies or medals I feel that this will affect kids in the future . I think that kids should be taught to loose. That way when they grow up they know they are not always given a reward.

  26. I think that older kids (teens) should not get medals for just showing up but have to earn the medals by working hard and showing ambition that they diserve the medal . But for elmentray level should have medals for partapating becuse how wold you like if all your friends got medal but you didnt that creates a negitve attitued to the sport leding int not whanting to play agian.

  27. In my opinion i think that if you give medals,trophies etc. they will feel better about theirselves and will feel confident.

  28. I do also beleive that a child 5 and bellow should get a participation trophy because they are too young to know all of the rules. I do, agree with ,after some time, that a partticipation trophy should not be given for age and maturity reasons.

  29. I think that you can give your child a trophy if they do good in something, but you just don’t give a kid a trophy just like that he at least needs to try to earn it because if you give him or her a trophy and they don’t win a basketball game then he or she will not work harder to try to earn one next time.

  30. I believe rewards are made to remember and not to brag about winning. Someone deserves a trophy if they worked hard to accomplish a goal.

  31. In my opinion trophies and medals are just another item. They are useless when you are young because most of the time they are for participation,but when you are older it proves your achievements and is to earn one thats when it isnt just another item

  32. I think that we should not give out participation awards to kids once they reach a certain age. It does not matter if they get discouraged because that feeling will only be temporary and if they can learn to have a mindset where they feel they should keep trying to improve themselves then they are better off.

  33. I think when you are in a sport you should have to try your hardest to earn a trophy. Participation trophies are just given out to kids to say that you tried. Some kids like them because they don’t care. Also some kids don’t like it because they were given something they maybe thought they should get a higher level. I personally think that you should not give out participation points because it cold discourage kids.

  34. I believe that they should receive an award for trying. Kids should learn nowadays to give themselves some credit, even if it’s for something simple. A self-esteem isn’t wrong for a child, it’s better than your child not having one at all. When a child sees that other kids receiving awards and they didn’t receive one at all even when they tried really hard, that sends a message in their head that even if they try their best, they can’t achieve anything. These awards provide a type of motivation and heartwarming feeling to children. While to a certain extent, they shouldn’t be awarded. If someone didn’t try and doesn’t care, they shouldn’t receive an award. If someone tried their best, but still didn’t rank anywhere good, they should get an award. Effort should be awarded. It’s just common sense for children to learn they can’t learn anything by doing nothing, but if they did something the LEAST you could do is give them a participation ribbon. (I don’t really think that a blue ribbon is responsible for the entitlement for children, rather than the way they were raised. This argument is bland.)

  35. In my opinion, I do not think participation tropies or medals should be given out. I believe in this because the kids that actually try and do all the hard work should be recognized for their efforts, not the kids that are there just because their parents make them or they just have to show up.

  36. My opinion is that participation trophies or medals should be given out. They should because even if they aren’t playing on the field they still showed up supporting their team taking the time to show up maybe knowing they wont even play at all. They effort of playing? I think any effort like showing up or just cheering on their team is showing effort to build confidence to their teammates and just shows they atleast care about the team.

  37. Effort should be rewarded, especially little kids. But giving a child a trophy for just showing up sounds ridiculous to me. I myself received

  38. I feel like kids should not get a trophy for not doing anything. Yes it makes them feel better but they should get a trophy for winning, it shows that they accomplished something. That is the whole point of a trophy. Just because someone doesn’t get a trophy doesn’t mean they are a loser. If they really want a prize then they should know to work for it, and if they don’t get one they will try even harder next time.

  39. I think kids should get participation trophies. Not all kids are athletically gifted so the trophies give them a sense of a accomplishment. The sense of accomplishment makes them believe that they are good at something. So they are more likely to keep playing.

  40. I believe children should get trophies for working hard because when you work hard you should be show how hard you worked with a trophy and this helps you feel good and know that you worked hard.

  41. While the child may be happy at the time that they got a trophy, as they get older they’ll realize they didn’t even have to try for it and could possibly believe they won’t have to try for other things in life either

  42. I think giving children awards for participation starts them off at a low attendance standard. If you start awarding children for something they didn’t apply themselves too, they would continue to go through school or daily life thinking they should be praised for just showing up.

  43. In my opinion I believe that kids just starting sports should receive a participation trophy, that way there self esteem goes up and they feel like they did a good job and want to join again which gets them active instead of just playing video games inside. Until they reach a certain age, that’s when they really don’t need one, and it makes them want to work hard and get their team to win because they want a trophy.

  44. I believe that the trophies should be given out up to an extent. Kids that are young and are trying sports for the first time need to be praised that what they are doing is good. When kids start to get older they should realize that things can’t just be given to them. When they get to an older age they should only be given medals if they did something good or if they deserve it. But as of little kids getting medals for participating, it doesn’t matter. It’s not a big deal if they get medals or if they don’t.

  45. I believe that giving trophies to players that don’t work hard or participate in activities like they should be- do not ‘deserve’ participation trophies. I say that because other players who actually do the hard work and are getting better at the activity/sport they are the ones who earned that trophie and ‘deserve’ it.

  46. I think that the trophys? Are a good idea because they make a kid feel accomplished but I also think that it’s the way you handle how the trophy is handled I don’t think that partners should praise there child on that trophy forever for example a parent shouldn’t make a big deal about a trophy but they should make kids feel good about them slefs and wanto to go out and do it agin??⚾️??⚽️?????????

  47. I believe trophy should be given to each member of the team for a different skill each child accomplished (best attitude, most improved). At some point in time kids will out grow wanting to win the trophy for best attitude and this is when the league should turn into a real competition. At that point teams compete all season trying to make it to the championships and then compete for champion. If young children don’t have some form of motivation to start something, you can’t expect them to finish it.

  48. In my opinion participation trophies should be given out because I heir are kid who try their hard and they should be awarded for that. Another is it make the children feel better and make them want to continue playing the sports. Another is it will get the student/children to have more friends and have more communication skills.

  49. I think children should not get trophies for just participating for a few reasons. One, they don’t learn anything from this but to come back and get another one. Another reason is it takes the motivation away from them.

  50. I think that although participation trophies build self esteem, they don’t really do much else. We could also be using all that plastic for more important stuff.

  51. I believe that participation trophies are a negative for the development of children.
    A child’s ego could be altered in a negative way if they’re being told multiple times that the efforts they put in for something were excellent even if the child barely even tried. Also with how their ego formed the slightest bit of something that wouldn’t go their way might make them give up on things in the future, believing that something is impossible or hopeless. Telling a child that they’re doing good all the time will make them narcissistic and not worry about their actions because to them they did the right thing even if it was harmful to others. In conclusion participation trophies will fuel a fire that emits a smoke consistening of narcissism and laziness.

  52. My opinion is that every should get a trophy Intel they are 12 because at that age they under stand that life isn’t fair and the reason we wait Intel the 12 is so that they have a good confidence boost

  53. giving a child a trophy for just showing up is ridiculous in my opinion. I myself received participation trophies, but they didn’t mean much. Because everyone received them even if they didn’t work as hard as I did. I think getting the trophy goes to the head and they use it in other aspects of they’re lives, to say oh I don’t have to Try my best I can just show up and it’s all good. It’s also not good for kids with low self esteem to get these prizes. Because further down the line they could be worse off because they didn’t receive that trophy. I think participation trophy so are pointless and should not be given out.

  54. I think that participation awards have gone to the extreme. In everything that a child does they are granted with a participation award even when they could have done nothing and had no effort. Recieveing a participation award, teaches a child that they should be awarded for everything that they do even if they don’t try. When it comes to school they’ll think that, well I’m here where is my A+. When I was a child participation awards didn’t mean anything to me because everyone got one so it’s nothing to brag about. In volleyball one year each of us players got a award that said something that you were good at and that meant more than just a participation award. Though participation awards are a good thought and make kids feel good and think that they should stop giving them out and find a different way to award them.

  55. I think kids shouldn’t get a trophy for just participating. If they want a trophy they have to earn it. They should make it there goal to get a medal. Plus, when ever I get a participation award I feel horrible. Here’s a ribbon for running here even though it was your coaches idea. We can’t give you an actual trophy because you didn’t do anything. Kids know what participation means, and if they don’t they can always look it up.

  56. Basically it’s a bad thing. Your putting the expectation bar for that child low. Your not pushing that child to its fullest.

  57. I think little kids should get a participation trophy or a medal, but when they start growing up, they need to earn that trophy.

  58. I don’t think there is a problem giving younger kids trophies. I think once kids get older like ten, then they need to start trying. They need to earn that trophy not just get it even if you don’t try.

  59. When the last team in the baseball league gets the same trophy as the winning champions, what was the accomplishment? People broadly say that this is unfair and it doesn’t tach anyone anything. So what is there to distinguish the winners and the losers? Is it simply because it’s to show that one person is better than the other? Absolutely not. Ideally all of us has equal potential, but it’s ultimately our actions that define who we are. It’s the actions we do that recognize us and sometimes are blatantly misconceived as a practice of inequality. Again we all have equal potential but none of us have equal determination. By lowering our standards as to recognizing those who did and who that didn’t on the same platform gives a sense of security to those who didn’t do well and deprives the sensation of success to those who gave their all and truly deserve appraise. It’s the security to fail that is truly blasphemy.

  60. I believe that in some ways it is incredibly helpful. There are children who may never win a medal, or could use a boost, but I personally think that once you reach a certain age, being given a medal for technically achieving “nothing”, isn’t worth while. I wouldn’t go far enough to call it “harmful”, but it is true that in real life you have to earn things. Your not just given things in life, so why should you be given things in a game. Plus, part of the greatness of earning a trophy or medal, is that only a select few earn it. You defeat the entire purpose of a trophy by giving everybody one.

  61. I think there should be a certain age where kids don’t get participation trophys anymore. Being young a trophy is always fun to get. But as we get older a participantion award is kind of saying you weren’t good enough for a real trophy so you get this one.

  62. I think there should be a certain age where kids don’t get participation trophies. Once they get older and if they see other people getting trophies, they will want to work harder to get one.

  63. I think that there is a line where a athlete should or shouldn’t get this trophy. I believe that when the child is young like around the age of 6, yes they should get a trophy. It might make them want to play the sport more. On the other hand, if they are 10+ they should not get a trophy for just trying. Cause if they get that in their head if they still lose or barely try they can still get a trophy. They will start to think that even when they don’t have to try, things will just be handed to them.

  64. 1. I think that there are some good effects of giving out participation trophies but, they do more harm than good. I think that they teach kids that they don’t have to try very hard to be rewarded and that they don’t need to try their hardest in life. It can be good for little kids, to encourage them to stay with something. It also make it so no one’s feelings get hurt. But again, these trophies won’t help anyone to improve or to want to improve.

  65. I think that for a certain age group, trophies for participation are fine. So for young children around the ages of 6, 7,8 etc, trophies for participation are fine because they’re still learning how to play on a team and how to play the sport. It shows that they became a part of something and stuck with it. After about the age of 8 I would start decreasing the amount of participation trophies, and maybe give the kids a participation trophy at the end of the year for participating in all the games. After about 10 I wouldn’t give trophies at all, because that’s when they have to start putting effort in to accomplish things in life and sports should be no different.

  66. It depends on factors such as age, social position, financial position, and more. Instead of thinking about rewards and whether or not you’ve earned them, I believe to take a different approach of celebration rather than reward.

  67. I believe that participation trophies teach children that if they just show up, they’re a winner. This takes away the need for hard work and perseverance. It is the same with some parents who pay for everything their children want, they’re teaching them that if they want it they don’t have to work hard for it. This is harmful to the youth of America. It may, in some cases, encourage children to stay with a sport but it will, in the end, just hurt them.

  68. They’re bad because they make lazy people think they can get rewarded for not being good. Just like obamacare. All the poor people get everything handed to them.

  69. At a certain age children shouldn’t be allowed to receive a participation trophy. Unless they are attending a sports event/ extracurricular activity which required certain criteria, they should be dismissed without a trophy. But, participation trophys can be a good thing for small children who disliked playing. It could give them a reason to sign up next year.

  70. I think that kids should get participation trophies until a certain age. For example, six year olds don’t really understand the idea of motivation and hard work yet, so they should get participation trophies to simply be encouraged to continue the sport. However, at a certain point, I don’t think that everyone should get trophies. Then, there is really no point in trying any harder. Someone who gives it their all deserves to be rewarded more than someone who doesn’t really try. Also, in real life, not everything is just handed to you. You have to work hard to earn things.

  71. I think that this should only be for younger kids, because they don’t really know any better and just want something shiny. But I think the older you get, you shouldn’t need an object just for being there and participating. Because when you sign up for a sport, it should be because you want to improve and see if you like a certain activity.

  72. I think that kids at a certain age should receive trophys up until they have played that sport for a couple years. The trophy would make the kids want to play again the next year and if they don’t receive a trophy that next year of playing they will just have to deal with the fact they will only get a trophy if they win all their games the entire season. But when they get up to high school level sports, they will get trophys or medals if they make it to districts or something like that. But the whole team gets on trophy, not everyone getting a single medal or trophy. I believe that trophys are given out well in high school and middle school sports. I don’t believe that trophys should be given out for preticipation or just completing something.

  73. I feel like it is harmful to the culture and to the child in general. I feel like it’s just giving a trophy for failure. “Here’s a trophy!” “What’s it for?” “You failed!” I just don’t think that’s right at all.

  74. I think trophies are a good thing. If a child does not receive a trophy and their peer does it makes them feel down and they are likely to not sign up for that sport or event again. However the trophies as the child get older should decrease and the rewards should be more for winning and doing a great job.

  75. My belief is, I don’t think kids should get a trophy for everything they participate in. If they really want to get a trophy they will work hard to get the top ten or whatever there ranking is. After a game or a race and they except a trophy they’ll know that they will have to work harder the next time.

  76. I think on this subject, I think maybe younger kids should all get trophies to keep them happy. When you get older, that should not be necessary. I think only maybe the top competitors should get any award. I might not even agree with giving little kids trophies for nothing, because they will eventually realize how dumb it was.

  77. I believe kids should get a participation ribbon but the winners should get a trophy. This distiqueshes the winners from the people who did okay.

  78. I feel that it’s alright for young children to get ribbons or trophy but as the children get old it should become harder and work harder for the children to get a prize so when the children get older they know that to get the best prize you need to work the hardest and try their best

  79. I find this really hard to believe. I understand that when your older kids shouldn’t get trophies for participating but when your younger it’s important to feel special and not that your a failure. But what’s really hard to believe is that collage students think the should get a B just for participating in a he class. I received participation rewards and I would never say something that ignorant.

  80. I think that giving kids a participation medal is good up to a certain age. Little kids need to understand how important it is to work together and be part of a team. You cant just do it to do it. You have to teach them to give effort and work together. It isnt all about winning.

  81. I think that you shouldn’t because you wouldn’t feel very proud, for example ” ooh I got a trophy for participation. No if you want a trophy you need to prepare yourself for that.

  82. I think that this is a good idea and a bad idea. Well for starters, it is a good idea because every kid should get a chance at getting a trophie . Some kids, when they don’t get something they might get upset thinking their not good enough or that they think they deserve to win and the other person does not. It is a bad idea because kids who get trophies for loosing , think its ok to loose and that if they do loose then at least they still get a trophie. that can sometimes lead to slacking and that is not good for them. They will not learn that loosing is sometimes ok, and that if you don’t get something for loosing, that’s ok too.

  83. I think that giving kids participation trophies for just showing up and having fun is harmful to kids. Those kids that just have fun are praised for something that they probably do every day and that is have fun, and the kids that actually try are getting the same trophy as the kids that don’t try. If the are shown that they can put in small amounts of effort and get a reward for it they will go there whole life thinking they don’t need to try hard to succeed. Like Dr. Hoedel said i think they should just go have a team banquet at Dairy Queen. Dr. Hoedel also said that kids will go to college or school and believe they deserve a B just for showing up to class. But they need to be shown what will happen if they put in effort in rather than getting something for just showing up. If you get trophies just for showing up to the practices and games that mean the parents/guardians of the child should get a trophy too, because they go to the games and practices. All in all the point I am trying to make is that kids should not get trophies for putting in little to no effort, but that is just my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

  84. I don’t think that participant trophies should be handed out. I have had participant trophies in the past, and they don’t make me feel well accomplished, then getting a trophy that I have fought hard for. If a kid gets participant trophy for each year he/her has played a sport, it will make their future selves expecting a trophy every time they play a sport. The kids have to know what determination feels like. They have to know what a true winner feels like.

  85. I don’t agree because i think the kids should work to earn trophy’s they shouldn’t just get a trophy for showing up because it dose not teach them a lesson.

  86. Giving participation trophies is good to a point. When kids are younger participation trophies make them feel good about themselves and will keep them coming back next year. When they get older and they realize that they didn’t earn the trophy, they wont want a participation trophy anymore. They want a trophy that they earned and can feel proud of. So why give them something that they don’t want.

  87. I think that not all kids should get a trophy because if they get a trophy every time they are on a team and it gets in last place then the next time the child plays he/she will just slack off and not try. On the other hand it does make the kid feel better about him/herself if they get a trophy. They honestly tried their hardest at everything they contributed to the team then yeah why not it all depends on how old the child is. If your below fourth grade then the last team should at least get a participation trophy because its not all about winning at that age its about trying and having fun. IN the end it really only matters about the age.

  88. I don’t think kids should be able to receive participation trophies because it just shows the kids that not trying your hardest is good thing because in the end you receive a trophy anyway. Showing kids at a young age that not trying your hardest is a good thing because you receive a trophy in the end isn’t good because kids will start to think they don’t need to try their hardest at anything. Kids won’t get the true feeling of trying their hardest and being rewarded for it. Kids will think they won by getting the trophy but, they won’t get the real feeling of winning if they get a trophy for participating.

  89. I believe that kids should work hard for a trophy and put effort into it. If they are doing the best they can, they do not need a trophy to prove it. If you loose, that means you can work harder next time to get a reward. If you are just handing out trophies to these little kids, they are not going to put in the effort to try and do the best they can. They know, even if they slack off, they’ll get a reward. I think that just participating, knowing that you’ve tried your best, is a reward. Also, if you’re having a good time and enjoying yourself you don’t need a trophy to show you are a good at what you’re doing. If the kids really want a trophy, then they’ll work hard to get one. Not everyone should get a trophy just to boost their self-esteem, they should work hard.

  90. I think when a child gets something they feel good about themselves. Although it may not always be a good idea. A trophy represents victory or an achievement that was reached. If you get that prize for showing up, its just like winning. If the winner of a league gets a trophy that’s different, the other teams could get a different reward.

  91. I believe that these trophies are a good idea because even though it may hurt a child what’s gonna hurt them more the fact of them getting a trophy or being discouraged because they didn’t get one? The time that matters to a kid is when they are young don’t try and push them to steer away from things that they enjoy by not rewarding them for their effort.

  92. I think that younger kids should get a participation trophy just because their more doing it for fun and don’t really get the point of the game. But teenagers and older kids shouldn’t get a participation trophy because they are doing it as a competition instead of for fun

  93. If children are given awards for simply participating at a young age, they may expect this in the future. Pay raises and promotions are not given to people who do not work hard or succeed. The kids may feel content with just participating because they get a trophy. It may diminish their drive to improve. There are several other ways to build self esteem and to exhibit positivity.

  94. I think participation trophies can be handed out to everyone. In the end, there are pros and cons to it but why not make a person feel welcomed on a team and feel like they did a good job? I understand that fact that some people may not have put in as much effort as others, but why make the ones that tried hard and put all their blood, sweat, and tears into it not feel like they actually did that job they did? In all, I think there should be participation trophies handed out.

    1. Post
      Author
  95. I think kids should be rewarded for all their hard work and courage and if kids do not get a trophy, it will just hurt their feelings and make them feel like they did nothing in the team.

  96. All kids shouldn’t all get trophies because if they go thinking that all their life they won’t get anywhere in life because if you don’t do good at your job your not going to get paid.

  97. All kids shouldn’t all get trophies because if they go thinking that all their life they won’t get anywhere in life because if you don’t do good at your job your not going to get paid.

  98. I think participation trophies teach children that they don’t have to do any work in order to be rewarded. I look back on my own particpaiton trophies and don’t see any value in keeping them. Sure, it makes the kid feel good that they participated in something, but at the end of the day, were they really useful and beneficial to the team. As they say, a team is only as strong as its weakest link

  99. Isn’t having fun and enjoying it it’s own reward? If they are not being rewarded for just showing up, but for having fun then what are we telling them? It’s like rewarding a child for finishing all their ice cream with a piece of chocolate.

  100. Kids are much more excited if they win the championship of a specific sport.
    Kids need to know how to lose and fail,they need to know that another team is better then his/her team so that his/her team can understand how to play better. It also depend on the age of the child. Kids need to accomplish something before getting the award/trophy

  101. I believe that Participation should be awarded in cases that still make the kid feel special. I remember when my I got a trophy because I was the funniest or my friends got one for try the hardest or doing the best. They got awarded for being the best leader or a good friend. This way a participation trophy still makes the kid feel special.

  102. I feel like kids need to know when you lose you do not get something but when you derserve it you should we need to let them be conifend and not give them what they want or what they thing you derserve.

  103. I believe that in some cases, trophies should be given, but in sports, trophies shouldn’t be given, because some kids get really cocky, and will begin to tease and harass other kids about them not getting the trophy, and how they were better than everyone else.

  104. In my opinion, a kid should get a trophy when they work hard. Showing up for school and getting a trophy is something ridiculous. Imagine getting a trophy for using the bathroom. Getting a trophy should be won by hard work and dedication. Dedicating yourself to something you like and working hard yeah, that person should get a trophy. People shouldn’t get a trophy for not working hard or nothing. I mean I understand that losing happens but, in order to win you need to be able to learn how to lose. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win but, that’s how life works and you don’t get a trophy for losing you improve from that loss.

  105. I play basketball three hours a day, so when I see other kids who don’t work has hard get a reward for losing makes me not really care to practice that much.

  106. when a kid like 4-6 you should get on cause it make you feel good and make you want try agian
    but when older not get one unless try hard and only get reggular trophie.

  107. In my opinion kids at a young age should get a participation trophy only because little kids don’t really play in the competitive term but when they are at the old enough to learn the aspect of the game then the participation reward should be removed but then be replaced by what role they excelled at that game like good passes or a good defender something like that 😛

  108. i belive that participation trophies should not be handed out to every single kid that played, regardless of skill level or how well the team did. i renember when my entire team was undefeated a whole soccer season, and all anyone got was a participation trophy. if anything, it removes the push to keep going, it devalues the entirety of playing sports, because if you don’t even get a trophy for your achievements, then why even play the sport!

  109. Some people may argue that you shouldn’t get participation trophies, but I think differently. Most people think participation trophies are bad because they ¨Don’t Reward Proper Effort.¨ I think participation trophies are actually good for people’s motivation.
     The reason I think participation trophies are good for motivation is because they boost confidence. 96% of all participants fail to win the championship in any given sport. In the end, only one team or one player can win. Still, rewarding only the winners could have damaging effects on those who don’t win, mainly at younger ages. If we give people participation trophies, it could boost their confidence and help them practice to get better at that sport. Kenneth Barish, a psychology professor at Weill Medical College, states that, “The idea of giving trophies only to the winners doesn’t emphasize enough of the other values that are important.” Ultimately, playing sports isn’t just about being the best. It’s about learning the importance of an active lifestyle, developing social skills by befriending and working with other people, and learning a new game that could turn into a lifelong interest. Using participation trophies early on to give children a token of the good times and hard work they put into a season will only help drive those points home. Based on Kenneth Barish and K2 AWARDS, participation trophies help kids get motivated and practice and just might make it a lifetime hobby.
     The majority of 6-8 year-olds and 9-10 year-olds say they want the trophy just for playing, some of them acknowledge that when a statue is a sure thing, everyone might not make them better at the game. The bulk of older kids 11-15 prefer to only receive a trophy when winning, as a token of success. For young athletes, it’s easy to lose interest in a sport if they’re not winning, which is why many leagues don’t even keep score at the youngest levels. Young kids don’t want to feel bad every time they step on the field, court or ice. At the very least, a trophy to display in their bedroom is a nice light at the end of the tunnel for anyone that has to endure a tough season. If you still think that participation trophies are still bad, Customized participation trophies acknowledge participation on the team with simple inscriptions like the child’s name and team name. If you worry about minimizing the accomplishments of the fastest or the strongest, pick a different award like a medal to acknowledge their hard work. When i played basketball, I didn’t really like it. After a couple games my coach handed out participation trophies, I started trying even more and we started winning more games. Based on research and statistics, people perform better since they started getting participation trophies.
     I went to a camp where everyone got a medal and the best in the class got a belt buckle and the runner-up got a gift card. Showing in 4-h livestock is the same way. Everyone gets a ribbon for their animal but it depends on how good you are showing the animal and how good and tame the animal is. It makes every kid feel special. It raises their self-esteem. It’s a big “atta-boy.” Parents feel good about it and the kids feel good about it. It reinforces the notion that sports are fun and increases the odds that a child will want to return to play other sports and get another trophy. If you get first in your class then you get an opportunity to win a trophy. If everyone did this I think everyone would be happy and stop complaining. It shows what you have accomplished and it makes you want to succeed again in life and try reaching your goal again. If you are in a sport and feel like you’re bad but are trying your best you should get one to help motivate you to practice and practice. So based on the majority of people, you should get participation trophies to motivate you to get better.
     Some believe that a participation trophy shouldn’t be the reward. Teamwork and love of the game should be their own psychological rewards when participating in sports. Learning to lose with grace and applauding the winners are life lessons that will translate into success long after the game is over. A trophy at the year-end banquet is also no replacement for the ongoing encouragement young athletes need from coaches and parents throughout the entire season. Children will build confidence and self-worth if they get coaching and support during every game. Kids will know they matter to the team when they receive constant encouragement all season long. This may be true; however It’s just a trophy or a ribbon. It makes the kid feel good about being on a team, competing and having fun. They don’t feel left out or “less than” their peers who won the league.
     I was the worst player on my basketball team then I got a participation trophy and became one of the best players. The 4-h club is a similar story. When I first started the club, I treated my cow as a normal cow. After I got that participation trophy, I stayed with that cow day and night. Overall, I think you should get a participation trophy so you keep practicing and getting better.

    1. Post
      Author

      These are solid arguments and I appreciate the time you put into this as well as your examples. I am on the opposite end of your argument, but your rationale is hard to argue. Great work.

  110. This little passage was a big help. I am doing a debate in ELA class today about if kids should be awards with participation trophies. I am really nervous to do this debate but I feel a bit better after reading threw this.

  111. First of all, when you compete in a competition all you want to do is win. Say you were competing in a race and you got 4th place and you didn’t place and get a medal or trophy for placing. You would be pretty down on yourself because you didn’t win. Say after they’ve already announced the winners and given them the trophies and medals they come over to you and give you a trophy. There’s no way you wouldn’t feel better, you’ve just gotten a trophy when you thought you weren’t going to get one, this is because now you’ve gotten a trophy everyone gets one for participating. When you participate and help the team that you are on you want to remember it and not be forgotten after you put all the hard work into participating.

  112. I always have running friends who are opposed to participation medals, yet they literally participate in a sport that hands out participation medals.

    They’ll say, “I earned it.” Yes, they put in the miles of training, but they didn’t win. They’re implying kids didn’t earn it, even though they went to the practices and games? So adults want THEIR participation trophy (medal,) but don’t want children to get them. 🤔

  113. Have you ever gone so far as to do more like? Me to, that’s why think that children should not be getting participation awards.

  114. Back then, children were taught the difference between winning and losing, success and failure. But, as we stand today, children are taught that everyone’s a winner. Most commonly, children nowadays don’t understand true failure. Even though it hurts, failure is what brings us up. Motivates you to be better next time, and work harder for your goals. Children today don’t experience that, and lose the ability and appreciation of goals in life. If everything is handed to them, they’ll get this fantasy in their head that life is a simple game. In which everyone’s a winner.

  115. Participation Awards
    By Dagen carnahan
    Most people in the U.S. feel that participation awards are not helpful to kids and students. Some think participation awards are a good idea because they encourage kids. Others believe that participation awards are bad ideas because there is no challenge or effort involved to get the trophy. In St. George there are many kids marathons that give out participation trophies. qqAlthough opinions differ, participation awards should not be given because of less effort and entitlement. Although opinions differ, participation awards should not be given because of less effort and entitlement.
    For one thing, participation awards can cause less effort. One reason is, Professor Dweck’s daughter didn’t show up to her soccer practice and had a bad attitude about it (Turner 1). This is a problem because when some kids don’t do any work and get something it hurts the kids that do put in effort and receive the same thing. Another reason is, Losing is good for you, nonstop recognition can cause children to underachieve(Pawlowski 2). This helps because when kids learn to lose they are easier to be around and strive to do their best. Also, children who are overpraised by adults start expecting rewards for everything(Merryman 2). For example when these children grow up and get a job with the mindset that they can get something for not doing anything, they lose their job for lack of effort. Overall, less effort is a result of participation awards.
    Additionally participation awards can lead to entitlement. Initially, life doesn’t give you a participation job or medal, life makes you earn everything you get. (Pawlowski 1).helped by knox This shows that no one can expect to get everything handed to them. They have to prepare themself to work hard and have a good attitude. Moreover, researchers have found when kids constantly get praise some become overconfident and arrogant(Merryman 2).
    To solve this teachers and parents should only give real praise when it is truly earned or needed. Furthermore, if everyone is special no one is (Pawlowski 1). For instance if every child gets a trophy there is no meaning to the trophy it’s just a hunk of metal. Indeed, entitlement is a consequence of participation awards.
    However there is opposition. To start with, trophies are a great way to encourage kids who aren’t gifted athletes to keep playing (Perez 1). This may be true but, you can also encourage kids by promising food or candy rewards or praising them honestly about the journey not the outcome. Furthermore, these trophies act as important markers to say I’ve been here and did this (Perez 1). This can be solved by getting other types of mementos like a team picture, jersey or t-shirt. Truly, the concerns of participation awards outweigh any of the positives.
    Clearly, because of less effort and entitlement participation awards should not be given at school. Participation awards can hurt kids by leading to less effort. It also harms kids by leading to entitlement. Participation awards are bad because even though it might help kids with confidence they are not getting rewarded for a good job and that doesn’t help them learn a new skill. Honestly, everyone should start phasing out participation awards and using new motivation methods that actually help kids.

  116. When i, was growing up we had ribbons that went from first place to 8th or more place so all of the children received a ribbon but they were were not all equal. But we all wanted to be first place but would settle for second place or third place. As for trophy’s their was the team trophy for bowling but for individual trophy’s the loser got the horses backside.

  117. I DON’T WANT BAD PEOPLE IN A GAME BECAUSE THEIR MOTIVATION WAS A STUPID PARTICIPATION TROPHY. just imagine though them walking up for a speech “thank you thank you, okay i have a couple of people i want to thank first my mom second my dad and last my participation trophy in pre-school

  118. As a person who uses a wheelchair I personally hate and loathe participation trophies. I got one in 3rd grade because I was upset I wasn’t winning any school field day events so my teacher gave me one. To this day I refuse to participate in anything that involves participation trophies and if I am awarded something, I always wonder if I actually earned it or if it was given to me because of my chair. I am 45 now so this has damaged me for well over 30 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.