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good morning tickets Tuesday.
I really liked your video on Friday about sibling rivalry and competition, and it made me think about participation.
Trophies like today's young people are sometimes called a participation trophy generation, who expect to be lavished with praise for even the smallest accomplishments and rewarded for failure.
That kind of pseudo culture of analysis always oversimplifies, of course, but I feel like I might have some insight into participation trophy culture because I had a profound and literal experience with it decades before.
It was a thing.
The year 1984.
I'm seven years old and I'm a baseball player.
Specifically, I am the oldest player on my Little League T ball team and T ball.
The ball has not pitched.
Instead, it's placed on a tea to make it easier to hit.
Most kids my age had moved on from T ball, but not me.
The thing about my childhood sporting adventures is that even though I was a terrible athlete, I loved sports like I was so passionate and also so hopeless like I went on to play for my middle school soccer team and I remember in one game I came off the bench like midway through the first half, and I was feeling really good about myself because usually I didn't get in until we were up or down by at least five goals.
And then at halftime, the coach said.
You know why I put Green on?
Because at least he cares.
I was like a motivational tool.
Anyway, back to T ball.
I had a pretty good season that year owing to the fact that I was 123 years older than all of my fellow competitors.
And then came the end of season awards banquet like all the other kids that got a small participation award.
But then they started handing out the real trophies, the ones that you've got, if you were selected for the T Ball All Star team, which I was not.
But then, the coach said, and this year's alternates for the All Star team are some kid's name and John Green.
I was an alternate star and almost star.
Should an All star get injured or otherwise be indisposed, I would become an All Star and if we won the All Star Game, I would get a trophy.
There was only one problem.
Our family was scheduled to be out of town during the All Star Game, visiting my grandparent's, which clearly needed to be rescheduled because I was an alternate for the All Star team.
They were counting on me.
What if I argued to my parents, one of the All Stars contracts, Chickenpox?
Is the All Star Game gonna get called off because the alternate is unavailable?
Or is the alternate going to go into the All Star game, hit the winning a home run and get a trophy?
Eventually, my parents settled on a solution.
We would still go visit my grand parents and I would miss the All Star game.
But I would get a trophy to be precise.
My parents went to the trophy store and had a trophy made for me.
That said, John Green, 1984 all star in our hearts.
I mean, it's the ultimate participation trophy.
Not only did I not earn it, my parents paid for it, so I would feel like a winner, even though I was not a winner.
So how did this experience affect me?
Yeah, I don't know.
I think I turned out mostly.
My parents always praised my effort much more than my achievements, like even now when something nice happens to one of my books, my mom is much more likely to say, I know you worked really hard on that story than congratulations on winning that award.
I think the All Star in our hearts trophy was an extension of that, and for awhile I was really proud of it.
I mean, I had almost been an All Star, and then it became a funny story to tell because he talked about on Friday.
People ask us all the time if we're competitive as brothers and we are in the sense that when we play sports or board games, I definitely wanna win.
But if somebody pointed out in comments, the word compete comes from the Latin words Puteri, meaning to seek or to strive and calm meaning together.
I don't see your success as my failure because it isn't my failure.
We're striving together.
To be honest, I'm not sure the social order ought to reinforce the idea that you winning means someone else losing because life is not a zero sum game.
Do I think we should teach kids that winning and high achievement are the only praiseworthy outcomes.
I think we need to raise teammates who know how to collaborate and how to strive together.
In short, I think we all need to learn how to participate, Hank and absolutely remarkable thing comes out one week from today.
And I am so proud of you because I know how hard you worked on it.
I'll see you on Friday.
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On the Participation Trophy

1 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 30, 2020
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