Keep The Trophy

We all have our pet peeves in life that get under our skin.Every season my kids are engaged in some type of sports program within the local community. They have played in many different sports, and the one thing that gets me each and every season is when the league decides to hand out participation trophies for all of the kids that lose.

Look, after twenty years in the business world I can tell you exactly what you get paid for participating . . . nothing.  The big question we ask people at work is whether activity, effort, or result matters most. Unfortunately, many people believe at work that effort is what should count the most towards a reward system and not the results. It didn’t work that way when I started work after college twenty years ago and it doesn’t work that way today.

Not only do I think these trophies are a complete waste of my good money for having my children play in the sports programs, but I don’t like any of the lessons that it could potentially teach them.If your team goes 0-10 during the regular season and loses every game, guess what?  You lost! There is no trophy.  By giving those kids a trophy, you teach them that you can still get rewarded for being the worst at what you do.  What kind of lesson is that?

Let’s face it, these little plastic trophies probably don’t cost more than a couple of bucks and end up being just another plastic piece of junk with the other 300 toys floating around your kids room.  I know because I see them floating around my house and it reminds me how much I hate the idea of the participation trophy.

It isn’t mean or sad or cruel that only the 1st and 2nd place team players should get a trophy in participation sports.  It should make the kids who lost hungry to get better at what they do in the life.So keep my kids participation trophy, and put my money toward better trophy to the kids that win!

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Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc.

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

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One Comment

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    March 21, 2012

    I totally agree with you. Giving trophies to every participant even when they loose or continually loose only teaches them that no matter what “effort” they put into participating they will always get regarded. Instead, and like you, I believe that only the first, second, and maybe third places should be regarded with a trophy. Any thing else, is just a waste of every bodies money.

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