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participation trophy

image via reddit

Participation trophy for cheating sports dads.

About that participation trophy deal:

A rant from an adult started, “Dear Everyone Older Than Me…”

It was hilarious. Turns out he didn’t want the trophy then, and doesn’t want to hear about it now.

That makes sense.

Who doesn’t enjoy knocking little kids hopes and dreams into the mud?

They don’t know participation trophy from gold medal, it’s just part of the season.

The older they got, the more ridicule the trophy collected.

This coach, me, gave out trophies. I also received coaching trophies.

It seemed like a good idea until one season I asked the team parents to skip my trophy.

“Oh? Okay, now you’re too good for a team trophy?”

That stung.

With adult children living on their own, I’ve got a box of trophies.

And I still like them, one in particular.

My kid was a soccer player in grade school; I was a soccer coach.

Participation trophies started with soccer.

We played and had fun, all that good stuff in sports.

One day we walked over to the middle school to see where he’d eventually go to school.

On the big field a group of kids and adults gathered for the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition.

Now, my kid wanted to play football, but I held him back until he really wanted it.

At the same time he needed to know he had football skills, so we joined the crowd.

One dad in charge had a small son with talent.

The kid could punt, pass, and kick with the best of them.

Except my kid lined up and won.

That one dad measured distances until another dad asked him to stop fudging distances for his kid, and shorting others.

Like my kid.

With the cheater button broken, his kid lost.

While we all lined up for trophies, the dad came over to say my kid couldn’t compete, even though he did.

Said, “This is only for football players signed up for the league.”

On field cheater, and administrative cheater. Tough combination.

My take was simple. I’d done this stuff growing up. You didn’t need to do any sign up other than Punt, Pass, and Kick.

But the man was adamant. My kid was out, his kid won the age group trophy.

Make that a participation trophy.

We walked away.

“Didn’t I win?” my kid asked.

“Yes you did.”

“Then why didn’t I get the big trophy?”

You can’t explain cheating to one so young because it would get back to others. Like the cheating dad’s son.

“I’ll check on that.”

You know what happened next? Sure you do. I found the sweetest trophy, had it engraved as first place in punt, pass, and kick, and put it on his desk.

I told him it came in the mail, that the national organization reviewed the event and sent it.

For a participation trophy it was great.

And yes, I explained the truth later, about five years later.

About David Gillaspie
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