Where’s My Trophy?


I am curious to know how you feel about giving children participation trophies in sports.   Are you for them or against them?

This made me think about Sydney and Special Olympics.  She participates in basketball, bowling and soccer with her unified partner.  When she first started Special Olympics she didn’t understand the difference between the medals.  As she got older and saw that gold was the highest and at the top of podium, she wanted her gold medal.

There were several times that she did earn a gold medal.  One time she received a participant ribbon because she didn’t place and she wasn’t happy.  She tried to pull a Kanye West and take a gold medal for herself.  Should they do away with the participation ribbon in Special Olympics for the kids that tried their best?

To prevent future meltdowns during award presentations for Syd, I had a back up plan.  If she didn’t earn gold or any medal.  I would have all of her medals that she did earn in her backpack.  So that when she came back to the stands she could look at her medals from  previous Olympic games. I think it helped her. Although she didn’t win a medal that day, she could look at the medals that she did earn.

Now let’s talk about your typical child on a sports league.  Should they get a certificate that shows they participated?  Don’t they need a certificate to go in their scrapbook or use at their high school graduation party?   I agree children shouldn’t just be handed a trophy for showing up.  But if this trend starts in the early leagues this is what children will expect.  Are we teaching kids how to accept a loss?  How a loss sometimes pushes you to be better, practice harder and set goals.

Maybe I am just as guilty having the medals/social story for Sydney if she doesn’t earn a medal. I know it is hard to see the disappointment on your child’s face. I live it everyday.  If they don’t receive a trophy for MVP or Most Improved Player.  Trust me they will survive and so will you. Right?


I would love to know your opinions about participation ribbons or trophies for special needs and typical children.




4 thoughts on “Where’s My Trophy?

  1. Tayair has a bunch of those Special Olympics Metals hanging in his room and I remember that they didn’t mean much to him. However, those participation trophies I don’t like because kids have to fail in order to appreciate success and it makes them stronger in the end.


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