Monday, March 29, 2010

Thanks For Playing

Last weekend I was at a dance competition. It's a world full of hairspray, sparkly costumes, and pop music. At the end of the day, everyone, from those who were amazing dancers to those who should find a different interest, got the same participation trophy. It's a small, eight inch trophy, bought in bulk, and handed out freely.

My daughter received one of these. She was also determined to work hard and earn a real trophy. Every day she practiced her solo, even listening to the music and watching her facial expressions in the mirror. She asked me to watch and tell her where she could improve. It was all about determination, perspiration and plain ol' hard work.

Her work paid off. She won overall high point soloist, earning a six foot trophy. Which one do you think meant more to her? The eight inch participation number, or the six footer? Even if she hadn't won the six footer, she would have been extremely pleased with her performance because she did better than before.

Glenn Beck had something to say about participation trophies:

"When everybody gets a participation trophy at the end of the season, it doesn't mean anything. Americans aren't about participation trophies or we better damn stop it. We're about telling the coach, take the trophy back. That's where you need to stand. Teach your children now. My son, my daughter didn't earn the trophy. They played hard. They played well, but they didn't win. We maybe will get the real trophy next year. Don't give me this bogus trophy.

Life isn't about the trophies. It is about improving yourself. It is about accomplishment."

I want to accomplish. I want to improve. In writing, it's either work hard to get published, or spend the rest of your life wondering what could have been with that great idea you had. I say bring on the hard work. And when my name graces the front of a book cover I can say, "Keep your stinkin' participation trophy. I succeeded."

So I can pat you on the back, congratulate you for your writing efforts, but in the end I say get back to work. I want to see your name on a book cover as well.


  1. Congratulations to your daughter, Debbie! And I'm looking forward to seeing you win your trophy. =]

  2. I agree with Glenn (and Deb) on this. The whole self-esteem movement did more damage than good for kids. There's got a be a happy medium between telling them everything they do is fabulous and berating them.

    Hurrah for your daughter Deb and her good old-fashioned perspiration.

  3. I think there is a happy medium for kids. (For adults, suck it up and throw away the participation trophy.)

    I spend a lot of time with kids and I hate to see their hurt. I like the two awards--one saying they had the guts to get up there and try, and one saying you did the best.

    As for adults, work is the only answer.