Each year as the new season for youth sports begins, the topic of participation medals/trophies is often discussed.  Are they good for motivating positive behavior, or bad for not promoting the best performance?  Five years ago, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison made national news for the following statement: 

“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.” (Cindy Boren – The Washington Post – August 16, 2015).  

Having coached local youth sports for over 20 years, this gave me pause to reflect, given that participation medals are frequently a part of recreational youth sports.  While there is respect for Mr. Harrison’s point of view, there are also other considerations not often examined.  See The Boone County Journal For Full Story