There has been a long and recent debate regarding participation trophies and whether they should or should not be issued to children participating in athletics. The debate essentially revolves around whether the so-called “losers” in sporting contests should be rewarded for their efforts.
Like most social debates, there is no clear answer to whether or not they should be issued, but there are reasons for which to do so. The strongest argument is recognizing the achievements of all participants, not just those that win. A person wiser than myself illustrated that winning is not everything, but others would argue that it is the only thing.
The question deepens
The other side of the argument is whether the achievements of winners should be diminished in any way by the distribution of participation trophies. If you ask my opinion, knowing that everyone did their best should be reward enough. It teaches individuals (especially young children) that there is no shame in losing.
Oftentimes, sports are far too competitive, which can lead to a number of social problems and young athletes developing self-esteem issues. The question then becomes whether self-esteem is more important than winning.
In short, competition requires focus on all angles, and some achievements are factually greater than others. However, what is important is finding the right balance between competition and self-esteem.
Arguments can be made on either side of the topic, but the important thing I think to remember is that we should recognize all achievements, large and small, regardless of who actually ends up winning.