We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Nothing bothered me more, in local kids' sports, than the handing out of 'participation trophies'. I never got one as a kid, so I was really angry. It's just not fair! I didn't get one and my kid did!
Actually, the concept is so foreign to me I laughed the first time I heard about it, thinking it was a joke. I was always motivated to try harder if I didn't win. My mother always prodded me if I came in second with "if you studied/practiced/tried harder, you'd have won."
But we're in a brave new world where kids who try harder to penalized and told they win too much.
Why have completion times in the New York Marathon? Everyone who finishes is a winner.
The Former Library At Alexandria
Everyone who runs or promotes "sporting events" where scores are not kept (and/or everyone gets an equal prize) should be given a copy of Harrison Bergeron and banned for life from controlling those events.
I don't mind scoreless games for the young. When my sons played T-ball, the "competition" initially was to beat last last week's number of runs. By the end of the season they were also keeping track of how many outs they made against the other team, and if it was more than last week's. For age 6, that's fine. It ratcheted up at age 7 in the next league, and was recognisably winning and losing at about age 8. That's fine. I can also see making exceptions, such as when one team is horribly outmatched or doesn't have enough players, or some such. But it should be clear all 'round that it's an exception, and the dial has switched from "league play," to "havin' fun." One team shows up with 6th-8th graders, the other, 7th-9th and adjustments are not shameful.
But all that said, there are advantages to competition that are good for children. (They are likely bad for their parents, however.) Losing by a little can teach you to strategise or work harder or recruit teammates. Losing by a lot can teach you to try another sport you will likely enjoy more. Competition, like anything, can be abused. But it isn't a bad thing in itself and children shouldn't be taught it is. What are all those stereotypes about dumb jocks but dweebs writing scripts so that This Time, I Win?
Assistant VIllage Idiot
Participation trophies for most sports- agreed, stupid.
Having said that, anyone who completes a marathon IS a winner, for having stuck it out. Keeping track of who finised 1st and who finished 121st is good. The 1st place finsiher is the WINNER, but 121st is also a big win for having finished at all. I finished 2/3 of the way down in a 50 mile race once. Didn't feel like a loser at all. Actually, finsishing 2/3 down put me in the top half of entrants, for half who started didn't finish.
I have nothing but respect for marathon runners.
And completing a race of that nature is certainly an accomplishment. They are 'winners' in the sense they have completed a goal which many other have not, nor will, undertake.
They are not 'winners' in the sense of having finished in the fastest time.
We give trophies, medals, and rewards out to those who finish in the highest tiers. Running a marathon puts you in the highest tier of human endurance. I suppose that is why you get a medal for finishing.
As an adult, you recognize the value of the medal - having completed a goal.
On the other hand, I'm with George Costanza. I laugh at the people who sit on couches all day long, only to cheer others who get up and pursue personal goals.
With regard to trophies, children lack the ability to recognize what they are earning a trophy for if they just get it for participating.
More to the point of the linked article - why punish a kid for being a high achiever? Certainly we should laud him and use him as an example for others.
What if marathon runners were told "when you complete the course, you can never run in another marathon again because we need to make room for other people who are not in as good shape"? What kind of incentive would that provide?
BTW, I should be clear about something, because I know some people are fond of picking nits.
Yes, I enjoy sports and cheer on football, baseball, lacrosse and hockey players. I've played soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Unfortunately, knee and ankle problems limited my ability to progress.
So I've sought out other personal goals to pursue which don't require the support of crowds. I've also engaged several endurance events which don't get much fan support, and completed them.
In one, a swim across a lake, I had a companion in a boat next to me in case of emergency, but there was no banter taking place. I was more or less alone with my thoughts. I prefer that, though I know others enjoy the feeling of crowds.