Sunday, September 13, 2015

Finishing Medals

I suppose I can thank James Harrison for the inspiration to this blog post. He posted on Instagram a while back the awards his two sons received from a sporting event. He made them take the awards back. He stated the reason in his account:
I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues
It generated a lot of positive comments, from the whole problem of the entitlement culture that has been a part of school and children's sports for the past number of years. The idea behind the awards to all is ; "We all winners because we've been involved". It's the same philosophy that has brought the 0-0 soccer scores and the refusal to keep stats, standings or even declaring one side a winner and the other a loser. Of course, for soccer, 0-0, or 'nil-nil' is a typical score. I should suspect in children's soccer 0-0 is a typical score. If anyone scores it's probably as much of a shock to all the players.

By the way over 19,000 liked his comment.

A lot of people also gave some very positive comments of support to Mr. Harrison.

Then I discovered there are those in the running community who want to get rid of the finisher's medal. An article on RW online had the title of OK, Time to Retire the Finisher's Medal. The author decries the fact that finisher's medals are now part and parcel of running in races and now race directors are going out of their way to make the biggest, baddest most "I got to get me one of those" medals. They are referred to as racing bling. And we all want the bling. When I started running and racing, since the reason I started many years ago is because I wanted to do a fun run. I got a cotton tee shirt for entering. I thought that was impressive and I wore it during the race, which was among the many mistakes I did during that first race, by the way. That was more then enough to sign me up for next year. The next race I actually did well enough to finish in the top three of my age category. That was something and if I look around for a bit, I can find that medal. I won a few more medals in different races, usually the third place one. Still it was a medal and it was an accomplishment.

Years past and I stopped doing races, probably due to time and the fact my running was very much hit and miss, I would run a couple of months a year and that would be it.

After a long lay-off I signed up to do another race and believe it or not, did well enough to finish first in my age category. Then again, I was the only one in my age category, still a medal is a medal is a medal. What I want to say I've done races that only gave medals to the top three men and women, others which gave to the top three overall and top three in various age and gender groups. I've also done races which do feature some quite interesting finisher's medals. In fact, the race I did in July featured a very interesting medal,

You have to admit a guitar pick finishing medal is quite cool.

But should we get rid of the finisher's medal and only give to the winners? Or if you finish, you should get something. I've thought about it and looked at my collection. I have to think, keep giving them out. Each medal tells a story, usually something positive and good. When it comes to running in races, we like to say that our only opponent is that little voice in our heads that tell us we can't do this. If that's the case, then collect that medal, you beat your opponent and you beat them handily. If you finished, you triumphed. You won because of all those hours spent running when you could have done anything else. The medal represents dedication and the ability to stick with a plan.

What I am saying, keep giving the medals. They remind me of the challenge and the fun I had running the race.

Keep Running.

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