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Friday, February 12, 2010

The declining value of medals

With the opening ceremonies of the Olympics being held tonight, it felt appropriate to spend our morning at our final soccer practice of the season.

On our drive home we talked about the opening ceremonies, the games that are held in the winter vs. the summer Olympics, and the medals that the athletes will win. "Oh, I've got lots of those" replied my 6 year old proudly holding up her new soccer medal.

Too true. She has been given a lot. I find them on the floor of our playroom, used as bookmarks, and hanging on bedposts. They are fun trinkets to her, but nothing more. They don't signify years of hard work. They are simply something that every child receives at the end of each sports season.

This frustrates me. Why do we think it is appropriate to reward a kid who doesn't even yet have the skill to compete (we didn't play one soccer game all season) with a medal. I'm okay with recognizing their participation, but why not hand out water bottles or tee shirts or even *gasp* simple high-fives? Why medals?

Our Olympic athletes have been training for their whole lives to make it to these games. They have struggled, fallen, sacrificed, learned, and achieved, but most will still leave the games without a medal. Even so, we hear the same phrase from everyone "Just being at the games is an honor."

I would like to teach my kids the same thing. Enjoy the game.
PS. I'm completely okay with a few Olympic medals coming home with our athletes.
Go Team USA!


Viktoria said...

Looking like some future Olympians there~

Doris said...

I love the pics.."high five" for job well done.
The medal idea was cute but over the top.