Should All Children Who Participate in Sports Receive an Award?
Should all Participants in Sports Receive an Award?
If the accomplishment is something unique, yes! Even all adults at certain marathons receive a certificate or even a medal- just for finishing. However, in a competition involving children who have already played many baseball games, many soccer matches, or run many 1- milers, etcetera... the awards mean nothing and add expense for organizers.
Recognition should mark significant events like "firsts", victories, and accomplishments. Some successes like "most take downs" in a wrestling tournament; most inspirational in the volleyball season; and "most yards receiving" in football are traditional awards given seasonally or periodically to recognize important feats and to motivate future achievement. "Most improved" is also an important award to give out. In all of these, coaches and leaders inspire and motivate youth to work hard, listen to the voice of experience, to and understand life values. A variety of awards are selected to reward and encourage all skill levels and qualities.
Sports teach us valuable life and interpersonal skills. We learn personal sacrifice, teamwork, leadership, and self-worth. Life does not reward losing. Neither should sports reward mediocrity.
Some Awards that Should be Given in Team Sports
Most Awards recognize accomplishment in performance and leadership.
Team Captain or team co-captain recognizes the effort of leadership and motivating a team through challenge. Victory on the gridiron and victory on the court happen under good leadership. Both the coach and the team captain must work together to accomplish their goal: wins.
"Most Improved" motivates new participants in sports. A rookie grappler may not earn the most take downs or reversals on the mats, but, he can become the most improved by working hard and learning to take advice.
"Most Inspirational" or Team Spirit award: Often, just working beside a dedicated athlete or co-worker inspires others in the team environment to also work hard and pursue success. This award fairly reflects real life and the working world. It should be given.
"Most Yards" or most spikes or most points scored are also important. These awards recognize the ability to transform teaching and practice into results. In business and in the military, it is results that pay off. A good salesman knows how to train and motivate himself or herself. He or she knows how to get the sale and create new business. This is something athletics teaches, and something which should be rewarded. After all, life rewards success.
I captained my junior college cross-country team under Merv Smith at San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton. Coach Smith worked with me extensively to understand the psychology and motivation of the other runners on the team. He took extra time to develop my leadership skills. And, I learned to work together with higher leadership in pursuit of goals.
That year, I received both the "Team Captain" and "Most Improved" awards.
More than this, I took those skills with me into the Marine Corps. I used my leadership team skills to work with a platoon sergeant as the platoon leader at Radio Operator's school in 29 Palms, California. We broke the record for the highest graduation percentage in the history of the school.
If I had just showed up to practice, would I have acquired the skills to lead and train Marines? The easy answer is "no".
Today, I am a businessman. I compete with other engineers, architects, and draftsmen for contracts to design and draft buildings. It is all competitive. When a building is built, the design work is completed by the firm with the superior bid package and design. When the checks go into the mail, not everyone gets one.
So, should every child who participates in sports receive a medal? No, they should not. It sets them up for disappointment in life. When they are disappointed on the school yard track, there is little penalty. When they lose bid after bid after bid and never sign a contract, they will lose their company and their investment.
Awarding common skills sets children up for disappointment when they compete in the real world. Honoring hard work, team work, attitude, and achievement train the youth to succeed as adults.