Winners and Losers

Steve

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I don't think anybody is arguing this. However, I have seen personally people (adults included) that try to pass off participation trophies as something they "won" and try to spin the story as if they achieved some large feat of victory when in reality they got it just for showing up. It's harder to pass that off with something less directly associated with winning given that most participation trophies are just smaller versions of the place trophies with no real distinguishing marks to say otherwise.
If the idea is that kids will misinterpret a participation trophy as winning, or not understand the concept of winning and losing, I disagree. They get it.

Fraud, insecurity, and ego are everywhere. so when folks choose to misrepresent themselves, that has nothing to do with winning and losing.
 

Steve

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The difference I would make is that even making it to the Olympics is a huge feat in itself. Just showing up to a local tournament not so much. If you get awarded just for showing up then it doesn't really seem like much of an award. The victories remembered are the ones hard earned, not the ones given freely. To even be considered and to be allowed to compete in the Olympics, or even to qualify for tryouts, you need to be among the best in the whole world, that's a victory, a big one. Recognize it, reward it, no problem. What do you have to do to get a participation trophy in a local tournament? Pay the entry fee? big deal, literally any person in the world can do that, it's not an accomplishment at all so giving a trophy or medal, something that expressly signifies one thing and one thing only, accomplishment, is a bit much.

And just for clarity, this is just my opinion explained in detail and not an attempt to persuade anyone to change the way they do things. Agree or disagree, you do what you feel is right for your students and your school. If participation trophies/medals work for you then who the hell am I to tell you to stop?
For what its worth, a lot of folks on this forum are afraid to test their skills in any form of competition. So I would call stepping on the mats at all something to be encouraged and rewarded for those who do.

People are competitive, but often, learning to be competitive in a healthy and constructive way is taught. People who never learn those lessons grow up to be adults who are back bitey, gossipy, and resentful of others successes. In my experience, at least.

Not just competitive martial arts, mind you. Im talking any sport.

Also, I think its worth distinguishing between these elite club sports for youth (which I believe are a net loss overall for youth sports) and the vast majority of people who learn, enjoy, and grow from participating in competitions without achieving much competitive success at all.

Dont get me wrong. If youre coaching a lot a pipeline facility for kids who may end up in the Olympics, that is its own thing and not what I believe Bill was talking about in his OP. I may be mistaken.
 

Buka

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To me, one of the most rewarding things about teaching was watching any of the kids participating in their first open competitions.

Especially kids that were shy or overly nervous about doing so. They were all so proud of themselves afterwards I dont think theyd want a participation trophy.

Before they were allowed to compete they had to come and watch a tournament first. What they saw was everyone from the school supporting and cheering them on regardless of the results. They also saw other schools cheering for them. A lot of schools would do that for other schools back then.
Not if you were fighting one of their students, but theyd still encourage and shake the kids hand afterwards.

Another thing that helped them was watching us, their instructors, getting whooped in some competitions and watching us interact with whoever beat us after it was over.

As for participation awards, what they really liked was getting a T-shirt. Its an easier brag than a trophy.
 

Hot Lunch

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Fraud, insecurity, and ego are everywhere. so when folks choose to misrepresent themselves, that has nothing to do with winning and losing.
Exactly. One need not have ever participated to commit such a fraud. Anyone can easily make up a BS story about a tournament that never happened, and then go to the local trophy shop to have one made.
 

drop bear

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For what its worth, a lot of folks on this forum are afraid to test their skills in any form of competition. So I would call stepping on the mats at all something to be encouraged and rewarded for those who do.

People are competitive, but often, learning to be competitive in a healthy and constructive way is taught. People who never learn those lessons grow up to be adults who are back bitey, gossipy, and resentful of others successes. In my experience, at least.

Not just competitive martial arts, mind you. Im talking any sport.

Also, I think its worth distinguishing between these elite club sports for youth (which I believe are a net loss overall for youth sports) and the vast majority of people who learn, enjoy, and grow from participating in competitions without achieving much competitive success at all.

Dont get me wrong. If youre coaching a lot a pipeline facility for kids who may end up in the Olympics, that is its own thing and not what I believe Bill was talking about in his OP. I may be mistaken.
That.

Combat sports often do a participation trophy.
 
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