The growing trend in our society to soften up the young male generation has some well needed opponents. Many people have voiced their opinions on organizations rewarding all participants in sporting events with trophies. Take a trip up to the local YMCA or a Boys and Girls club and one can see this taking place. At a very young age this does not have a life changing impact on a person but as an individual gets older there needs to be caution taken when giving unearned rewards. This generation active kids are stuffed with various pills and tagged with ADHD or other hyperactive disorders, while lazy kiddos are given gadgets and deemed normal.
On the other end of this spectrum is another trend. College coaches offering young people athletic scholarships as early as junior high has raised the eyebrows of the not so ambitious. In fact there has been a rush of complaining on social media and even on talk radio shows of the exploitation of young athletes starting at an early age. This is truly an argument where hands have to get dirty. Yes, I agree that it is too much to hawk down 7th and 8th graders with athletic offers to big time division one schools. There is a lot of growth and change that occurs for a student athlete between his junior high years and his senior year of high school. But when it comes to accepting a necessary evil most sane people would side with the aggressive college coach rather than the tag team of youth organization coaches and pill-pocketing parents that unintentionally help create an uninspired generation.
The dead horse doesn’t have to get beaten over and over again. The argument against there being a universal rewarding of all participants is something that has its pros and cons. Just as a reminder here are some of the pros of giving trophies to all young participants. Youth coaches are instilling the concept that sports are fun and nobody ever experiences loss in life. We are always going to win. Why let a child experience loss that has little consequence except teach a valuable life lesson at the age of 7, when they can experience for the first time at 25 on his 15th job interview. The other side of the argument brings us to college coaches chasing down junior high athletes. A message to those college coaches. Please keep doing it. As a society we have minimized our male athletes to a level of “softness” that is now being absorbed by the younger generation. The skinny jeanification of the NBA is a blog for another day. Rewarding young athletes for hard work and focus is a great guide to discipline and solid habits. When all is said and done the final verdict is that we can either choose to pamper and stagnate a generation to rewarding all youth participants with trophies. Or we can plant seeds of ambition and determination in that same generation through regulated but intense competition. Love it or hate it but in the end…it is what it is.