Can we be done with trophies?

two tropies

I’m proud that my older daughter was second-team all-league in soccer. Can you spare us the plaque? I appreciate that my younger daughter won both the coach’s award and the team MVP. Weren’t the few call-ups to varsity enough? Did you have to stick us with TWO gaudy plastic-and-gold monstrosities? 

And don’t we all know the mantle is just a rest stop on the way to the garbage? 

And then on to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

How many cheap plastic trophies are in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Can we please be done with youth trophies? 

Think of the upside:

  • Less stuff for already overworked teachers and coaches to worry about. (“Which of these 55 replica trophies goes to Sophia for riding pine all season?”)
  • Less stuff for us to lug home after banquets.
  • Less money on trophies. More money on food!
  • And, of course, a smaller Great Pacific Garbage Patch!

Let’s celebrate sports seasons. The camaraderie that gives sports meaning. It’s a nice touch to recognize each kid — however little he or she participated in the team’s success or lack thereof. Let’s recognize the MVP, the most-improved, the most effortful. Let’s do it without junk designed like a Vegas bathroom. Let’s watch the team slide show to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Let’s listen to the awkward student speeches and even more awkward coach speeches. Let’s do it with less faux marble.

More importantly, let’s eat! Isn’t that what a sports banquet is about anyway.

In fact, let’s make our trophies edible!

Wouldn’t we all — parents, kids and coaches — appreciate the all-league achievements if we etched our child’s names on oversize blondies and served with glasses of milk.

And how about a slice of Most Valuable Pecan Pie? Delicious.

And what kid wouldn’t be thrilled with a Best Effort Brownie Sundae? Now we’re talking.

Edible trophies would also hammer home a critical point. Sports participation is less about plateaus of momentary achievement and more about journeys of improvement. We all hope these lessons will last a lifetime. Consumable trophies mean no looking back on our glory days.

Heck, while we’re at it, let’s bring this idea to professional sports.

Hockey figured this out. They pass the same Stanley Cup that’s been around since they invented skates. The winners drink from it. Through this not-so-pandemic-friendly ritual, they share their success with those who came before. They consume from the chalice and recognize that possession is transient. NHL champions savor their accomplishment. They move on unburdened with a static trophy representative of a moment in time.

So when the NFL returns, it will be time for a change. I’d like to see the Superbowl champion should raise The Lombardi Cake. And after passing it around from teammate to teammate, they can each devour the sweetness of that singular moment.

A delicious way to cap a successful season.

And one less trophy in the world.


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