Sacramento Weighs in on Participation Trophy Debate

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SACRAMENTO --

Andrew Amor and James Tallman played college tennis.  To get there, it took years of practice and competition. The goal was to win, and winning meant you got a trophy, but many young athletes receive trophies just for participating.

When that happened to Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison’s sons, Harrison took to social media, slamming the idea and taking the trophies away from his 6- and 8-year-olds.

Amor and Tallman don’t like the idea of a participation trophy either.

“If everyone is getting them then it devalues their worth. Usually you’re supposed to get them if you’re first or second,” said Tallman.

Amor said, “If you haven't won anything or did anything that deserves a reward, why should you get it?”

Zach Streight, executive director of nonprofit Positive Coaching Alliance says it shouldn’t be about the plastic statue, but instead, what the athletes learned throughout the season.  He agrees the goal is to win, but for children, it’s about more than that.

“More important than that win, is in the pursuit of that win. Let’s make sure we're teaching the life lessons and we're helping them become resilient, teaching them what it means to be on a team sport, teaching them what does it mean to set a goal,” Streight said.

That concept may not sit well with professional athletes, but Streight believes the little ones need positivity and encouragement to keep playing.

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