Zachary Gray – Sports Editor
“How was your break?” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that the first week back this semester, I could pay off tuition. For anyone who is actually interested, my winter break was decent. The big activity I did over the month off wasn’t New Year’s, nor was it Christmas. It wasn’t traveling or seeing friends. No, the big thing I did over break was throwing out my old Little League participation trophies.
Oh, Little League…how I don’t miss you at all. For three years of my childhood, I attempted to play baseball from a position not named, the bench. Each disappointing season was rewarded with a trophy simply labeled with the year. Over the years, I kept these “rewards” on display in my bedroom. Why I did so, I have no idea. The participation trophies certainly were not a great conversation starter. “Zach, you played baseball? Did you win the championship three years in a row?” Actually, I did not. These are my awards for being drafted last at eight years old.
It wasn’t until this winter break while cleaning my room I thought about trashing these useless pieces of plastic. I haven’t done anything special in baseball to hold on to the trophies. I can understand, however, still holding on to Little League trophies if the individual is currently a professional athlete. Those trophies represent the beginning of what became a glorious career. Would I want to see Bo Jackson’s 10-year-old baseball trophy? You bet I would. I’ll even make the exception for those who’ve dedicated a lifetime to a sport and continue involvement with it through coaching, training, or something else. The young athletes have to be impressed with something.
For us common folk, we need to let go at some point. That trophy represents probably the best moments of childhood, but it sure isn’t doing anything for the hours spent watching that sport on television.
The trophies won’t do any good on the mantle above the fireplace or on shelves in the bedroom. Gentlemen, the ladies won’t be impressed. Second only to Crocs, your Little League participation trophy is the most effective form of birth control. Impress her with a homerun ball, your equipment, or better yet, something related to who you are now, instead of your childhood.
For those who still cling on to the participation trophies and boast about the glory days, it’s time to move on. They weren’t exactly glory days for myself, so it’s relatively easy to toss the gold-colored plastic trophies. If your passion for sports continues to grow, become involved again. Get into coaching, find a job in athletics, or even teach younger family members about the sport. It’s time to admit it: the childhood participation trophies have to go. Trophies collect dust and over time they will rust, but the memories will last forever.