But What About the Trophies?

by Lisa Rosen on September 2, 2011

Those trophies represent Delaney’s childhood/tween-age softball career–four years, if I recall correctly, playing both spring and fall seasons.  The kid loves some softball, which is great.*

But . . . what in the world are we going to do with all those trophies?  It’s an odd phenomenon, the childhood sports trophy, made meaningless by its ubiquity.

Every child gets one.  Always.  Your trophy doesn’t prove you won a lot of games (because even the rock-bottom team of the league, the team with an unbroken string of losses, even that team dutifully gives each kid a trophy).  It doesn’t prove you worked harder, or contributed more, or have some kind of amazing innate talent.  It doesn’t even prove you showed up and made a consistent effort–sometimes a kid will show up at the end-of-season banquet and get a trophy, even though he missed most of the games and was always late to practice.  That trophy just proves that your parents paid the registration fee.

It starts at an early age:  even t-ball teams give out trophies.  Um, it’s not like kindergarteners are actually good at sports.  They’re barely three feet tall, for Pete’s sake.

Mementoes of mediocre sports, clogging up closets and drawers and shelves all across America.

What in the world does one do with such junk when one begins to downsize?  Because the ones in that picture?  Those are just Delaney’s.  Toby, being slightly less fastidious in his habits, keeps his jumbled up in a box–but he’s older and even more athletic, so his collection is impressive.

I’m thinking they won’t really get much on Craigslist.  Goodwill probably doesn’t want them.  We can’t really pawn them off on the cousins.  They’re not really useful in any way I can think of.  So, what do we do?  Haul off boxes full of trophies to the dump?  That horrifies the environmentalist in me–all that plastic sitting there for centuries, stubbornly refusing to decompose, taking up precious space on the planet that would be better occupied by actual humans.

So if you’re reading this, and you coach a kids’ sports team, do me a favor:  take that trophy money, and throw them a party.  Or even give them all nice, useful t-shirts.  Just–please–no more trophies!

*For the record, when I went into Delaney’s room to take that picture, she asked if I was writing a blog post about how good she is at softball.  I said that no, that’s not exactly where I’m going with it, but I’ll be sure to mention it.  So just for the record:  Delaney totally deserved all eleven of those trophies.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Delaney Rosen September 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Actually, one of those trophies does prove I worked harder, I made a conscious effort to be a good sport and a leader. So that one is gonna follow us wherever we go.

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Rebecca Rosen September 6, 2011 at 12:50 am

First, congratulations Delaney! Second, Durham County recycles all plastic.

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Eileen September 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

Having never played sports as a kid, I want a trophy so bad now I can hardly stand it. I treasure my marathon finishers medal because its the closest thing I have to one. Problem is, I have to be really really good at something to get an actual trophy now. If anybody knows how a 34 yo average runner can win one, let me know!

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