Last night, my son's t-ball coach told the team that they had one more game, then they'd be having a get-together with the other teams, and trophies would be given out. My son was really excited - until he realized that everyone would be getting a trophy. "All the teams get trophies?" he asked. "Yup!" I replied enthusiastically. "But... why? That's weird." He frowned at me, and looked rather upset.
I tried to explain to my son that at this level - the 4 to 6 year old t-ball crowd - it's more about participation and doing your best. And that everyone gets a trophy because everyone came to all of the practices, listened to the coach, cheered on their team, and had fun. I was met with complete silence. My son was not happy. Winners should get trophies. That is his line of thinking - and generally, I agree with him. I do think that children need to learn that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and you don't always get to go home with the trophy, no matter how hard you tried. That's the nature of sports - and of life.
Yet I'm sitting over here in my corner of the world, surrounded by my sport, and I'm in possession of two medals, even though I've never won a race. Or, truth be told, even placed in the top 50%.
I will likely never win a race, or even place in the top of my age group (unless I'm the only one in it). "Finishers" medals are probably the only kind I'll ever get - and honestly, I'm ok with that. I love my finishers medals. I am proud of them. They're pretty, and I don't want anyone to take them away from me, or tell me that I'm not deserving of them. It makes me a little sad to think that my son may one day realize that the only reason Momma came home with a medal was because everyone did - but I'm also hoping that one day he'll understand that it doesn't negate the experience, and it doesn't make my medals any less important to me.
I hope he'll be excited when he gets his trophy, and put it somewhere special in his room so he can look at it and remember how much fun he had with his friends this spring. Or, if not, then I hope he'll at least say "Thank You" to his coach before he tosses the trophy in his closet and moves on to the next big thing.
What do you think of race medals? Do you keep yours?