Everyone Gets One?


I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now  but as you can all relate to – life happens. On my way to the office today they were talking on the radio about this topic and it renewed my fervor to share my comments.  The concept is that we are ‘softening’ America’s youth with policies that allow them to believe that results don’t matter. The particular example that has been popularized is youth sports. In most youth sports leagues around the country, participants are typically given some type of trophy or medal at the end regardless of how they did during the season.

People against this sort of thing say that this teaches our kids that the score doesn’t matter, your performance doesn’t matter, results don’t matter. I have been a father for 14 years now and a youth sports coach since my son has been 4 years old. I have coached soccer, baseball and football. During that time I have coached literally hundreds of kids. The last 5 years I served as the President of our youth football league and oversaw 200+ kids who participated in our program. I can tell you this – KIDS GET IT! They understand the score, they understand winning and losing and they understand performance indeed matters. Anyone who has ever been on the field with kids can attest to this – as much as you may try to downplay score and focus on effort, they always want to know ‘WHO WON?’ The key to me is to teach them HOW to win and as important HOW to lose. Both are a part of life.

As for the trophies at the end – is it a bad thing that every kid in the program gets one? Again, people want to say that handing a kid the trophy if his team didn’t come in first or second is gratuitous and again reinforces this notion that results don’t matter. I was at a meeting a few months back and during a social break this topic came up. One of the gentleman in the conversation learned that I ran a youth football league and sarcastically said ” Are you one of those leagues that gives a trophy to every kid?” I said yes. He said ” That is the problem with American youth…..” He then went on to grace us with a 5 minute dissertation about how ridiculous this is, the problems it causes, on and on. The group politely listened – some agreed, some didn’t. When he was finished I said – let me give you my thoughts on the matter.  

EVERY kid does not get a trophy. The trophy is for the kid who signs up at the beginning of the season, goes through the practices, comes to the games and is still there at the END of the season. It’s for the kid who comes out and gives his blood, sweat, and tears for the team. Believe me in youth sports you get all 3! Its for the kid who enjoys the thrill of victory but also feels the pain of defeat. You don’t get the trophy because you signed up. If you did – we’d give it to you at the start of the season.  The trophy is for the kid who very simply DOESN’T QUIT.  There are many kids who join a team and then see all that it  takes and realizes its not for them – they quit. That kid doesn’t get one of these trophies.

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I believe sports are simply a metaphor for life. In life, like sports, you will win, you will lose. You will sweat (hard work), you will bleed (give all that you have), and you will cry. That’s just how it goes. But through it all if we DON’T QUIT we will come out on top and can have the life we dream of. It’s all there for us – we just have to keep going until we get there.

So – to my friend at that meeting, if this is a lesson that I have been able to teach my son, and all the kids that I have coached through the years then that is something I feel good about. If they can look at that trophy and remember what it really stands for,  then that is a good thing.

President of The Abs Company
An aspiring personal trainer, Sean Gagnon started interning at a health club, and the owner of the clubs was so impressed by his work ethic that he offered him a partnership opportunity years later to help run his gyms and become involved with fitness products he was selling. Under The Abs Company, they've sold products via infomercials and in retail that have become household names: The Ab Roller and Ab Coaster, which have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to date.