How do you feel about Participation Trophies?

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Growing up, I was involved in a lot of athletics and competitive events.  I have a box full of trophies, medals and certificates showing my success.  As my children begin their own adventures into the sports world, their generation’s parents have created a push for participation trophies.   While receiving a medal for my participation and fundraising efforts for Miles for Migraine, I took a second to reflect.

How do I feel about participation trophies?

When I received my medal, I felt good.  I felt happy, proud, and I did something for a good cause and myself.  The trophy made me feel like a success.  My children also received participation medals for their Tball and softball efforts this summer.  In our cases, we were not playing winning or losing games.  We participated and were rewarded for our efforts.

I think participation should be recognized at a noncompetitive level.  I see the recognition for both my children and myself this summer as motivation.  The medals we received were mementos of the hard work and dedication to the race and season.  My children are young and beginning to find what interests them.  Children need to be motivated.  My son’s league was not keeping score, there were about 20 four-year olds playing in the dirt more than playing the game.  They didn’t even understand the concept of score.  A game without a score is a game of instruction  not winners or losers.   

The only thing I can say about the medals is that they look at them and want to play next year.  They have a physical reminder of their good memories and the fun they had throughout the year.  If the medals were a pat on the back to say good season, I think a snack would have done the same.  My son looked forward to the snacks at the end of the game as much as the game.  I think a pizza party and snacks could have been just as an effective participation trophy.

Once they get into the winning and losing age of sports, I think medals should go to the winners.  Will they always win and be rewarded?  No, that’s life.  They will learn how to overcome setbacks, see progress, learn how to have sportsmanship and how to be a team.  Loosing is part of life and participating does not mean a reward is given.  If you show up at work but don’t get the job done, are you still paid?  Probably not for long.  Sports teach lessons of winning, loosing and working hard to be the winner and best.   Endless lessons can be learned without rewarding those who just showed up.

I think rewarding those who show up when it’s noncompetitive is ok.  We all felt good and were reminded of our dedication.  I felt proud of what I did and want my children to feel the same.  Overall, I think we all need to be reminded to keep trying and getting better.  I think a snack can be swapped for a medal and that the trophies can be saved for the winners once they are to that point.  If they don’t have a box full of trophies at the end of their lives, does that mean they are losers?  No!  In fact, they may learn more from losing than winning.  It’s all about the process not the gift.  I will take lots of pictures to save those moments as reminders of the ups and downs.  They won’t need a trophy to remind them they showed up.

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Participation trophies have turned into a way of saying the game doesn’t matter.  As long as you got dressed and showed up that day you are a winner.  The real world doesn’t reward you for showing up.  The real-world needs people to show up then do something!  It’s the something that counts.  They don’t need to just show up for school, they need to do something!  They need to work hard and get better to be a winner in life.  It will hurt to learn that sometimes they just aren’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough.  As an overprotective mom, I don’t look forward to those moments.  I will sit and cry with them when they lose but I won’t be giving them a trophy.  I’ll give them a hug, a sports tap and get them back out there.  It’s not the things in life that motivate, it’s the experiences.

When you fall off your bike, get back on and ride.  Your trophy will be knowing how to ride the rest of your life.

Now let’s go have a snack!

 

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Disney World. The Good, the Bad, and the Migraine

Disney World

Disney World!!!!!!

 

I went to Disney World for 3 days and I could probably write a book on it.  Instead I’m going to focus on three things. The good, the bad, and my migraine.  So let’s begin with the good……

Where to begin. Disney World is called the happiest place on earth for a reason.  If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you know this is not the first time I have written about a Disney princess (A Whole New World?) I have loved all things Disney since I was a child and have been so happy to see my children fall in love all the same.  We spent an entire day at Magic Kingdom.  I had planned and saved like most families do and was eager to see how my dreams would come true for my family.

My personal favorite thing was to ride the rides.  I used to love rides but now enter them with a bit more trepidation.  I fear flashing lights, jerking motions and all those other triggers that come along with my migraines.  I also feared the weather, my diet, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion.

But Tinker Bell sprinkled her fairy dust on me that day and I lived in a fairytale land.  I did however, prepare.  I had water bottles for all of us that I filled at every water fountain I saw.  I didn’t care about how many bathroom breaks we were going to stop at, we all were staying hydrated.  I also brought portable fans for my family that tends to sweat and me who tends to overhead.  I had snacks galore that were healthy and filling enough to stop us from stopping at every food stand we saw.  I had hats and sunglasses for everyone while we waited in the sun.

I didn’t stress at all because we were on vacation, we were together, and somehow I was feeling OK.  OK for me means super duper terrific on a day like our day at Magic Kingdom.  One of my highlights was watching my children meet the characters and waving to them at the parades. IMG_4327IMG_4332

Is there anything sweeter than a tiny hand waving at floats singing to music?  I found myself waving at everyone also, it was contagious. IMG_2246IMG_2186

I actually got to feel like a normal person that day.  I spun around in tea cups laughing and only feeling dizzy.  Feeling dizzy from your kids joyfully spinning you verses feeling dizzy from standing up on an average day is very different.

I felt shaky from my daughter “steering” a car on a track slamming from side to side and laughing from the depths of my gut.  This shaky is wonderful compared to shaking from pain masked by medication yet not masking muscle contractions.

At the end of the day I felt truly tired.  Not exhausted from fighting a migraine, tired from a long glorious day.  I was able to sing with Ariel in her grotto, the way I love to sing (Feeling better makes me sing)IMG_4360

I flew like I could fly

I flew like I had wings.  I took selfies without thinking how my smile was a mask for how I really felt.

The laughs, the joy, the magic was all from a low pain day.  From the opening song that made me feel butterflies in my stomach to the last firework that gleamed in my eye, I was feeling low pain.  Whatever it was; the adrenaline, the preventatives drugs, the preventative living, or  the intoxicating bubble of love and joy, I call it magic!

I could go on and on and on about how our day at Magic Kingdom was one of the happiest I can remember in a very long time (and I consider myself to live a happy life) but I will stop at saying it was perfect. For those of you who can’t relate to a perfect day, I thought it was impossible for myself.  But just like every perfect day comes reality.  Stay tuned for the bad and migraine party of my trip.