Stop Participating in Participation Awards

Medals are losing their meaning.

Ethan King, Reporter

As a child, I played multiple sports, such as basketball, baseball, football, and swimming.

I was never the best at any of these sports, but I still collected a massive amount of participation trophies and medals; all of which were utterly meaningless to me.

The only awards that ever meant anything to me were the ones I truly earned. 

Participation awards are awards given to kids, generally for sporting events, simply for being there.

The awards are given out so kids don’t feel bad for not being the best player on a team or winning an event, but they normally have the opposite effect.

Proponents of these types of awards say they help build self confidence and make it so kids understand that trying their best is good enough. 

Unfortunately, in practice, this is not the case.

Oftentimes, children could not care less about earning participation awards because they understand how meaningless they are.

Not only did they do nothing to earn it, everyone else got one as well.

Alternatively, receiving an award for an actual accomplishment is a great feeling.

Real awards encourage kids to work towards something while participation awards teach children to be complacent in mediocrity. 

They send a potentially dangerous message that everyone is successful no matter what they do.

Kids should be rewarded for being the best because it pushes them to continue to work hard and improve.

For kids that did not earn the award, it teaches them that everything in life is not handed to you.

People could say that this is too harsh a lesson, but sheltering children doesn’t set them up for success.

If kids are raised with the idea that everything will be handed to them without putting in the effort, they will be in for a rude awakening later in life.

It’s better to learn this lesson when you are young instead of when you are an adult with a lot more pressure and problems to face.