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In this age of “everybody’s a winner” in youth sports, and trophies are handed out just for showing up, Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison has given us a different perspective on who should get a trophy when.
In a lengthy Instagram post this weekend, Harrison showed a couple of trophies his sons “earned” and then explained why his kids won’t be keeping them:
“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues”
Now we can all argue the value of giving out participation awards to young athletes—it motivates them to be in sports, it makes them feel good about their participation, etc.—but James Harrison has a point: How do you know if you’re any good if you get an award for just being part of the game?
Harrison maybe is taking his opinion to the extreme, but it’s still an interesting topic. And it says volumes about how kids are being raised. Because how do they handle losing later in life, if they’ve always been told that they’re a winner–and have the hardware to prove it?