The Next Trophy Goes to....
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Laramie at
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Laramie Boyd
2015 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
        Rules and laws are arbitrary. They are made up by the authority in the situation. Sometimes the authorities are elected, sometimes not. Laws governing large bodies of people can be made by elected officials given that power, or by despots who simply take that power by force. Rules are often made for smaller groups by associations, leagues, groups or individuals willing to organize and oversee the activities of the group, whether it be a game or for some lofty purpose, like charity. Currently there are those who believe that if a young girl or boy participates in an organized athletic game or any competitive event involving pitting one person against another, or one team against another, where someone or some group traditionally "wins", all those who participate should get a trophy, whether they win or not. In other words, if it's true that "It's not whether you win or not, it's how you play the game", then however you play the game, as long as you give it your best effort, you should be rewarded, in this case, with some kind of a trophy.
        The question comes to mind whether or not winning is the goal of games that involve youngsters. Or is the object just to get together and feel good in the outdoors, and it doesn't make any difference how skillful one is or isn't, that results in either "winning" or "losing". That way, everyone wins, or better yet, "winning" doesn't exist.
        Of course there is no right or wrong in this setting. What is right in a game is what the rules of the game say are right. The fact that three strikes results in an out in baseball is no more reasonable than if it was four strikes, or two. It's only a rule, made by those in authority of the game and agreed to by the participants of the game. This holds true for all games. So it would be quite possible that all participants of Little League baseball games could be given a trophy, just for showing up at game time. All it would take is that the administrators of Little League would vote that rule into effect. And in every other game, that same principle could hold true. One off-shoot of this scenario, naturally, whether good or bad, is that there would be no reason to have sports leagues, tournaments, a World Series, Super Bowl, or any competitive event that led to playoffs and an eventual champion. That plateau could never be reached if no winner at any level was announced. No need for even the Olympics, if the athletes were just participating and all entrants got medals, regardless of where they placed in any event, as there would be no competition. And of course that would change the face of Sports worldwide. Truth be told, passing out trophies to one and all, in some circumstances, might be viable, but there would be a multitude of unintended consequences if practiced on a large scale.
        So, in reality, what is the point of Little League, or Pop Warner Football, or any organized sport played by kids, we wonder? Is it to try to win, or just to play? Can you imagine a baseball player striding to the plate with the thought in mind that it doesn't matter whether they get a hit or not? Whether they strike out or not? Whether or not they run as fast as they can to first base? Whether their team wins or not? After all It's only a game and what difference does it make? The final score of the game would be meaningless, so who cares? Don't even keep score.        
        Or picture a basketball player at the free throw line saying, "Just for fun I think I'll miss it. It makes no difference and I'll get a trophy for making it or not. So here goes." Will the supporters of this change also want to redefine the term "winning." That has been a popular aim in the world of politically correct advocates. No longer is it "The winner of the Little League World Series is...". Rather, "The participants in the Series are...", and so line up the roughly 3 million Little League players around the World and hand out equivalent awards for each player. As my fourth grade teacher used to say to me, as my friend and I would engage in some light horseplay during study time, "If it wasn't so sad, it would be comical."
        One of my first thoughts is that if everybody who plays gets a trophy, what's the use of giving out a trophy, as it would have little or no meaning or value. Would we give every actor an Oscar whose image shows on the screen? Or give every scientist, poet, or politician a Nobel Prize?
        Recently, a professional athlete, James Harris, returned a trophy given to his son for being a member of a team, not because the team won, just because the boy participated. The man thought it was wrong because he felt his son had not earned the right to receive a trophy. He wants his son to know that any trophy received should be awarded because it was fairly given to the winners. His concept is that athletes are not entitled to, but rather must earn, awards for their accomplishments in competition. And he believes if it takes winning to do that, that's what makes sports special. And that idea sure makes sense to me.