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Opinion: Drop the participation trophies — at a certain age
Trophy File Art
Photo courtesy Unsplash

In her letter published Sept. 14, Sally Byrne took issue with columnist John Rosemond’s objection to “participation trophies” for children playing youth sports.

I will agree with Ms. Byrne, up to a certain age. Following research, I’ve learned that children age 7 and younger aren’t mature enough to handle the pressure of competition. I’m fine with participation trophies being handed out to them.

But by age 8, children have developed to the point they’re mature enough to handle “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” 

When your child loses a game, it’s probably because the kids on the other team worked harder, practiced longer, maintained focus and played better than your child’s team did.

I’ve been involved in youth sports through the years, from Little League baseball to high school football and have seen firsthand how competition equips our youth with valuable life lessons.  Good habits learned on the playing field transfer to the classroom and the workplace, where they compete for the best grades, the best colleges and the best jobs.

As for Ms. Byrne’s closing comment on “unfairness,” life isn’t fair. Never has been, never will be.  There’s nothing unfair about outstanding performance being recognized. You want a trophy after your eighth birthday? Put on your big boy/girl pants and earn it. 

If life was fair, I’d be 6-foot-4-inches and look like Matthew McConaughey.

Barry Stinson

Gainesville

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