James Harrison Has It Wrong About Participation Trophies

August 28th, 2015

Participation TrophiesTrophies. We all love to receive them. Hey, it’s nice being recognized, isn’t it? We live in a strange world, where we’re bombarded with self-interests at every turn, whether it is the reality shows that we watch on TV or the selfies we see on social media. The idea of the self and gratification go hand in hand when we take a good, hard look at our current society. Not that that’s a bad thing – far from it, but some people believe that we’ve become a society accustomed to receiving awards – the participation trophy syndrome, let’s call it. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison hates them and wants to return his sons’ trophies, according to this Boston Herald article.


The AP reports, “The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year took to Instagram on Saturday Night to say he was returning two awards his sons James III and Henry received from a local athletics event run by former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch.”


Yes, a father wanting to return trophies that his young sons received. While that’s his prerogative as a father, don’t you think it’s a little harsh? Harrison said, “These trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better.”


While we can certainly agree with the idea that we want young people to do better, we think they need that little extra oomph when it comes to performing better. Participation trophies are a gateway drug to more success. Once people get a taste of recognition and success, they will want more – better trophies equal better performances. Mr. Harrison, we respectfully disagree with you.




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