Friday, August 21, 2009

We Win (?) Trophies

OK Soccerphiles. You already know that DC United's new motto, in the smack-talk with Seattle, is "We Win Trophies." That gives me an excuse to post the my colleague's observations on youth sports.(besides, I'm coming up short on material, so I have to steal some). Anyway, aforementioned colleague was a HS hockey player. Here's what she has to say about trophies:

What I don’t understand is how come all these kids’ soccer teams get individual trophies for just being in a tournament? My one niece has more trophies at age 13 (and nicer ones) than her mother, father, two aunts and one uncle have combined. (And we played on undefeated varsity field hockey teams that won Sectionals.) [Nowadays] They build their self esteem, give them individual Blue Gatorade bottles, have multiple outfits….

We had the hand-me down uniforms the school had. You tried to pick one that fit.

We all drank water from a single ladle from a single metal container. (Yet no one ever got sick.) On good days, there might be orange slices at half-time for games against our bitter rivals.

Heaven help you if you got hurt and needed tape since supplies in the first aid kit were generally used to hold together cleats or to wrap around a stick.

We knew how to improvise back then. Like fanning out across the field with our sticks going through the grass to look for a teammate’s front tooth that got knocked out (it was found and healed nicely) .

Have the coach go into labor during a crucial game? Not to worry. She already has a stopwatch to time the contractions.

Son 1 starts U8 soccer and Son 2 starts Tee-ball soon. I guess I should go buy a trophy cabinet.


  1. good stuff. I can see why the field hockey team won some many games with 2 guys on the team.

    I remember coach smacking the "team ladle" out of my hand because I went back for a 2d dip -- not much talk about "hydration" in those days . . . .

    there's a lot of handwringing about the trophies and not keeping score, etc, but in my experience the kids don't have any trouble counting goals on their own, and unless the trophies are for winning something, they never make it out of the garage . . .

  2. My son played 1 season of U-9 baseball and got a trophy for finishing middle of the pack.

    He played 2 seasons of basketball and got 2 trophies.

    He played 20+ seasons of youth soccer and WON some trophys and bunch of acknowledgement plaques, gee gaws, and the odd trophy just for participating. Along with team pictures, the odd end of season 'party', etc.

    I guess my point (do you need a point in a blog comment?) is, that's the nature of youth sports today; it has nothing to do with soccer, and more to do with a busy body parent who wants badly to contribute and will do so by organizing the giveaway. It's all harmless, despite the hand-wringing.

    A smart league, or barring that, a smart, experienced coach will organize a non trophy plaque or desk ornament acknowledging you're participation. It's a keepsake. A memory jogger. They do the same thing for business conferences fer crissakes....

  3. Just prepping them to be CEOs and Wall Street brokers. The kiddie version of 'golden parachute'.