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You Win Some, You Lose Some

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Daniel Mowery

Mrs. Flagel

Honors English

January 30th 2017

You Win Some, You Lose Some

One of the best coaches to ever live named Vince Lombardi states “If it doesn't matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?” Participation awards take away the feeling of winning in sports and in anything worth trying to accomplish. Kids learn many great characteristics that they will need further on in life from losing. As parents baby their kids it hurts them by making them soft and ultimately weaker. Kids should not receive awards for something that they do not deserve, so they can learn and grow from losing.

Kids are learning the wrong lesson from receiving an award they don’t deserve. The reason for playing sports or anything competitive is to learn, grow and ultimately win. By receiving an award, kids are growing up learning that they do not have to get better and try their best all of the time. A doctor from Washington University named C. Robert Cloninger stated, “...if you constantly reward a kid, you spoil them, and you don't build a capacity for them to be resilient to frustration." This directly describes how rewarding a child for participation hurts the kids more than it helps them. It has been proven by this same scientist that it causes an effect called Partial-reinforcement extinction. “Life isn’t fair…. yet somewhere along the way someone had the misguided notion that kids should live in la-la land where everything is perfect, there are no hardships or heartbreaks, and you should get a shiny trophy or a pretty blue ribbon just for being you.” (Armour). Recently in time, people decided to try and make everything perfect for their children. In doing this, it has made their children way too soft and in turn, has had a more negative effect on their children than they can imagine. It also teaches them that they don’t have to try anymore which can make them lazy. Kids who receive awards for something that they do not deserve takes away many life experiences that they can learn from losing.

When you lose, you can always learn something from it and participation awards take the feature of learning when you lose away.

“There is another fact that most people do not realize. Even those who win have most likely lost many times before. Have you ever considered this? Unless the competition is entirely comprised of novices who never competed before, the person who wins is often one who has more experience in the activity. To gain that experience, he or she likely had to lose against more experienced people.” (Davis).

By losing, people learn and get better. When you give out participation awards to kids that lose, it takes away the losing feeling and the drive to get better. Not only that, it teaches them that is okay to lose. “Here is where the greatest opportunity from losing comes into play. All of a sudden, you have a lot of information about areas to improve. Winning does not highlight your weaknesses—but losing certainly does!” (Davis). By losing, kids learn their weaknesses and can try to improve what they did wrong. Losing gives kids a strive to fix what they did so that the next time they can perform better. Ultimately, kids need to learn that losing is okay. It can make them better so that when the next time they want to win something, they can succeed.

Granted, there is something to be said for participation trophies. When kids receive a participation trophy it will help to boost their self confidence. “Rewarding accomplishment is part of the education process... The whole notion that we are creating a nation of wimps because we hand out participation trophies is only the case if we want it to be. These awards only detract from creating a competitive society if we let them do so.” (Priceman). As people reward a child it can encourage them to participate more often in certain events, but as they grow older they won’t care as much for the simple little ribbon and will eventually stop trying. “Self-esteem is a big part of one’s childhood. Watching a peer receive a trophy and not receiving one yourself can be degrading. Any kind of honor can make a young kid feel as if he or she meant something to the team, and that could boost the child’s self-confidence -- children today need as much of that as they can get in our society.” (Abate). While all these are valuable points, the main goal for a competitive athlete is to win and to get better each day. As they see another kid receive an award who didn’t deserve it, this may affect how they act towards their competitive sport. Participation awards do encourage kids that are not as good to participate.

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