It seems as if trophies, ribbons, medals and other awards are being doled out for participation in just about every sports program these days. Are our daughters now coming to expect awards these days for simply stepping foot on the courts and fields? As a consequence, are awards losing their meaning – becoming diluted? Has the pride that has traditionally come from “earning” an award been lost?
There is no doubt that such incentives are confidence boosters and motivators, and, if used in moderation, play such an important role in the athletic development of our young girls. But in my humble opinion, sports programs, whether recreational or travel level, need to draw a line.
I feel strongly that mere participation in a program alone should not warrant anything more than a certificate of participation, if that. Last week, when I saw that little trophies were handed out to a group of 2nd and 3rd grade girls merely for their completion of a recreational basketball program, I asked the program manager his reasoning behind the trophies. His response was ” We need to be competitive with the millions of other programs that do this same thing, not to mention the fact that it definitely keeps the kids coming back for more.”
A couple of points come to mind. First, we need to instill in our daughters the principle that completion, self- improvement, or progress are fulfilling and rewarding on their own.