A youth football league in Texas recently announced on Facebook that they will no longer give out participation trophies to losing kids.
According to local newspaper The Austinist, Keller Youth Association Football board members believe that participation trophies send out the wrong message to kids.
“Trophies are something you should strive for and earn,” says the Facebook post. “Life does not give you a participation job or medal, life makes you earn everything you get.”
The Facebook announcement saw hundreds of responses, many belonging to parents who were in favor of the league’s decision.
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“If everyone is special, then no one is,” one commenter wrote. “I commend you, in this day and age of erroneous attempts to be politically correct, for implementing logic and fairness and teaching them to our kids.”
“It is a life lesson,” wrote another. “How do you teach your children to be good winners or good losers if they don't win AND LOSE?? I feel sorry for the kids that never learn disappointment.”
However, not everyone shared this opinion. Some commenters argued that the trophies are a necessary means of building kids’ self-esteem.
“Absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of,” wrote one angry commenter. “These kids work there [sic] tail off all year for them trophies. … These kids need to be rewarded for finishing the season and not giving up on there team. These kids earn these trophies even if they don't win a single game. LETS THINK ABOUT ALL THE KIDS.”
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According to a New York Times blog posting, too much praise — such as participation trophies, for example — can be unhealthy for a child.
“Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments,” Robert Brooks, faculty psychologist at Harvard Medical School, told the Scholastic Instructor Magazine. “It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.”
Sarah Maizes, a contributor to the TODAY Moms blog, wrote that her kids “have shelves full of trophies for basketball, soccer and Tee-ball despite the fact that none of them have ever shown any real prowess in any of those sports.”
“The cold, hard, gold-plated truth just might be that awards for worthy deeds actually encourage children — and grown-ups — to try harder, take pride in their own abilities, and do the right thing,” she added. “And I don’t see how that can be wrong.”