Earlier this summer, my son finished his baseball season. It was the first time he’d participated in an organized sport. When the coach sent out an email asking parents how they felt about getting trophies for the kids, it took me a minute to consider. My first thought was, “A participation trophy? Isn’t that what everyone says is wrong with kids today? Win or lose everyone gets a trophy.”
They didn’t win a championship, heck, since no score was being kept, they didn’t even win a game. Did they need trophies? Of course not. Did they deserve trophies? 100% yes!
The progress these kids made throughout the season was simply amazing. My son is five. He was in the youngest age group that offered baseball, which meant not one kid on his team had played any type of organized baseball before. Many of the kids had not yet been involved in any team sport.
At the beginning of the season the kids showed about as much potential as the Chicago Cubs; they couldn’t run, catch, throw or hit. Practice looked like the monkey exhibit at the zoo. Kids were climbing the fence, throwing sand and balls where haphazardly tossed in every direction at once. Chaos. Total chaos.
Eight weeks after that first practice, on the day of their final game, everything was just the complete opposite. The kids did their warm-up stretches together as a team, they played catch with one another and actually caught the balls that were thrown to them. They understood where the positions were on the field and they knew how to make an out at first base. Over the course of the season, the kids also progressed from hitting off a tee to hitting a real pitch. After hitting the ball, they knew to run to first base.
And at the end of the game, they learned to line up and shake hands with the opposing team.
So, did they win a championship? No. Did they deserve trophies for all they accomplished? Absolutely.
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