Soccer / trophy

Let's give everyone a medal for trying.. But sure then what's the point!?
I have a problem with participation medals. Yes, it is important to get as many young people involved in sports as possible and yes we should encourage them to stay involved with sport for as long as possible, but do we really need to give everyone a medal or a trophy for just turning up? Doesn't that dilute the whole idea of competition and winning? Back when I was a kid, with no grey hair bespeckling my head and my face, I played many different sports. I played for a soccer team, a gaelic football, a hurling team, to name a few and there were years that after a long hard season we ended up as champions or other years when we ended up as runners up. There would be a party or presentation at the end of those years and we'd get our medals or trophies. Those medals and trophies are still knocking around someplace gathering dust in my parents house. Other years, we would miss out on the final, as we just weren't good enough and guess what? Those years we went home empty handed and the teams who were better than us and finished first or second took home the silverware and rightly so. Those teams that missed out, knew that they would have to up their game the following year in order to earn a medal. And often times they did - they knew what the benchmark was now. I still have vivid memories from some of those winning campaigns. The hard fought wins, the tackles, the lifts to away matches, the muck on the jerseys, the hail stones, the feckin wind, the words with the ref, the close calls, the sending offs, the back of the net, the 'how many minutes left ref?', the finals, the lifting of the cup, the trophy out the sun roof, the beeping of the horns, the celebrations, the fizzy orange, the craic. No mention anywhere of participation medals and rightly so - different times. Fast forward to today and we somehow have gotten to the stage where we think that everyone should get a medal, regardless of achievement, and I just don't buy into it. I really feel that the winners of a competition should be rewarded with a cup and gold medals and the runners up should get their silver medals. Or if we are talking about athletics or swimming, there should be medals for first, second and third. Participation should of course be recognised and commended, but not with a medal, more so with some words of wisdom and consolation - "Better luck next time Johnny" "Good Game lads", that kind of thing. I think by rewarding children with these medals when they have not really achieved something is both unfair to the children who were the best and it also steals something from the kids who under achieved. How are we preparing them for the real world, that big bad world that awaits them when their stabilisers come off, if we are conning them into thinking that everyone is a winner regardless off how much effort one puts in or the natural ability one has. I don't mean to be cruel, but this type of mentality helps no one in the long run in my opinion. It really just dilutes the prestige and accomplishment of the winning team, when every player walks away with a medal. At some stage the children will look back and realise that the whole thing is a con and not just in sport, but in life. Are we really helping them to be the winners, the workers, the people of tomorrow or are we molly coddling ever more and setting them up for a huge reality check when they leave the nest and realise that, no everybody is not a winner. The winner's are most often the ones who put in the work, the time, the dedication . The hard yards. Those who think it is enough to just turn up and don't apply themselves to the best of their abilities are often left looking back with regret. So let's not con our young people into thinking that it's enough to just turn up and walk away with a pocket full of medals without even breaking a sweat. In life, as well as sport there is only so much room on that podium, and you've got to work hard for it. To teach kids that they need only turn up to get a medal and recognition is dangerous and does nothing to help the child in the long run. To the contrary, I think it is harmful and skews the value that should be placed on hard work, discipline and dedication. What do you think? Am I just a huge big cynic growing old and more bitter by the day or do I have a point? Let's get the opinions flowing in the comments below, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your time. Peace Out.