By: Shelby Frisby
According to the United States Census survey in 2018, 42% of youth ages 6-17 were involved in sports, while 28% were involved in clubs. If more sport groups gave out trophies, the number might increase. According to the Washington Post, in 2008 45% of students were involved in sports, by 2018 it went to 38%. Every child should receive a trophy just for participation because it is important to get kids involved in sports, and it increases motivation to work hard and succeed.
Participation trophies are a good idea because they are helping kids get involved in sports. Many kids struggle with anxiety and a small sense of self worth. According to NPR, one in five kids struggle with a mental illness. If students were given trophies, it would increase movement and motivation in kids. Many kids aren't involved in any physical activity. Because of this many schools have implemented a Fuel Up to Play 60 program, used to typically to try and get children to move for at least one hour. To combat this teams could give out trophies so kids would want to exercise more.
A second reason that participation trophies are a good idea is that they may increase motivation. Kenneth Barish, a psychology professor at Weill Medical College, states that, "The idea of giving trophies only to the winners doesn't emphasize enough of the other values that are important.". The main thing is that it's a sports TEAM, if you only give trophies to the kids that got the most goals or touchdowns, it takes away from the main goal of sport, having fun with your friends. Even if you give trophies to everyone, that doesn't mean you can't reward the kids that DO made the most touchdowns. The only thing that we need to remember that these are kids, and most of them do sports for fun, and only giving trophies to certain kids can take that away from some of them. If every child got a trophy, it can help increase motivation.
Some people may say that participation trophies decrease motivation. This is untrue because when children are rewarded for their effort, they are more likely to succeed. Alfie Kohn points out that, “We’re left wondering why it would help to be brought down to Earth even before one had the chance to soar.”. Children should have the chance to have fun in sports, not worry about who wins and loses. Another main argument against participation trophies is that they don’t teach kids how to lose. Kids shouldn’t need to learn how to lose, only to be a part of a team and to learn to work with them. Sports still need to teach children good sportsmanship, but they don’t need to teach kids to lose. After all, isn’t that what sports are about?
In conclusion, it is clear to see given these points, that every child should be given a trophy just for participation because it increases motivation and it increases the amount of kids that participate in sports. Kids in 2021 are not as active in sports as they were ten years ago. If every child got a trophy, it can help increase motivation and the need to move and join a sport. The idea that only the kids that win get a trophy excludes the kids that tried but didn't win. Although if everyone got a trophy, it could help increase the motivation of the kids that did try, just not win. Every child should be given a trophy as it can help children recognize that it's not winning that matters but trying and getting the job done.