I haven’t written on here in awhile. Been busy with vacation and planning Hockey Kicks Cancer. (Click the side bar for info! All are welcome to join in! You can pay at the door. Benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!)
Baseball and dek hockey each ended about a month ago and now my son is playing ice hockey. More about all of that in a later blog. I have much to tell.
My son completed his baseball clinic. The last day was a lot of fun. The kids ran obstical courses and played tug of war before playing a t-ball scrimmage. You could tell they had a fantastic time. After it was over, the coach quizzed the kids on some basic trivia about local sports and the country (who is the President, what state to we live in, etc) and they won prizes such as hats, shirts, and baseballs.
They did a great job and while not every child is a future hall of famer, they had a good time, made friends, and got exercise, and that is what is important.
But at the end of the clinic, the kids received trophies.
Yes. Trophies. Participation trophies without ever playing a game.
*Sigh* Okay, I’m about to be the old school parent. I thought the trophies were a disgrace. My son was proud of his. I’m proud of him, but I wish he didn’t have a trophy. Maybe a certificate of completion would have been more appropriate.
The coach told me that a parent had emailed him inquiring about the kids receiving trophies. He called the league and joked about it and was stunned to find out that they do give trophies. The league said that it is “expected.”
Look, I played softball in high school. I was pretty decent. I wasn’t the best player out there but I did my best and I played a lot of games that still stand out in my mind that I am proud of plays that I made and hits that I had. But I have nothing to show for my years except shirts that the letters and numbers are now peeling off of, sitting at the bottom of a drawer with other ratty old shirts.
I don’t have one trophy. Not a ribbon. A medal. Nothing. I have zero to show for tournaments. Why? Because my team didn’t win anything. And I’m good with that. I don’t want a trophy for showing up. If I had any trophies to show, I’d want them to mean something.
After baseball ended, my son asked if he would be receiving a trophy at dek hockey– which is also instructional. It made me sad to hear him say that. I don’t understand this new world where everyone gets a trophy, a gold star, and a cookie for showing up. There are no trophies for second place in life. What did the Bruins get in the Stanley Cup Finals this year? Nothing. They didn’t win. They got to end their season as second best. There was no trophy. No banner raising.
I don’t want my son growing up thinking that he is entitled to being rewarded for accomplishments for which he did not achieve. But how do I explain this to a 5-year old?
I can’t. Unfortunately, the stage has been set and all I can do is encourage him and when he is older try to teach him the same value that I grew up with- you earn your rewards and when you EARN it, there is no comparison to the feeling.
I did not congratulate my son on his trophy. Instead, I avoided the trophy and focused on the things that he did right: he stuck with it, he tried, he made friends, he had fun.
I don’t feel as though I am making a poor parenting choice in instilling this way of thinking in my son. I want him to be able to taste victory and revel in it rather than receiving a meaningless medal for falling short so that his feelings would not be hurt.
Life is rough. Get over it now and learn to deal with your feelings instead of having them appeased.