For the purposes of transparency, I am a member of the so called “participation trophy generation.” This fact makes me angrier than the concept of participation trophies to begin with, because I am constantly lumped into a stereotype of entitled millennials who cannot be told they lost. I will admit my generation has done little to dispel the stereotype, and even doubled down on it with the nearly week long temper tantrum thrown after Hillary lost the presidential election last November.
However, I tend to hold a vastly different viewpoint on said participation trophies, and to be specific, I hate them. As someone who is rountinely referred to as “too competitive,” you can imagine my mindset on receiving a trophy for losing. If I am playing a game, we better be keeping score, and I am going to be trying my hardest to win. My fifth grade soccer league might as well have been the World Cup in my opinion. Despite my team’s hard work and utter dominance, which culminated in the league’s best record, the league award ceremony came, and much to my chagrin, every one in the league received the same trophy, not unlike socialism.
It was pretty much identical to the recent Kia Sorento commerical, and the thoughts in my head mimicked the father’s in the commercial:
Video via YouTube
As I read articles and hear older generations criticize my generation for events like the one I just described, a rather progressive thought became more prevalent in my mind. When fifth grade me was standing at the aforementioned award ceremony, who had the idea for the participation trophies and who was handing them out? I will give you a hint: it wasn’t one of my fellow fifth graders. In fact, it was a friend of my parents. A person who resides in one of the older generations currently criticizing my generation for receiving participation trophies.
I get it. The participation trophies have softened my generation by telling us that everyone is a winner just for playing, but let’s not lose sight of who started handing out participation trophies.