Little-League Participation Trophies and the Decline of America

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 5 2013 8:23 AM

Little-League Participation Trophies and the Decline of America

365127
There will be no trophies awarded for winning the coin toss.

Scott Halleran/Allsport

Americans like winning. A new poll, however, finds that when it comes to the global economic race, we’re not so sure we're winning anymore. The survey of the American mood, conducted by the financial website The Street, found that more than a quarter of Americans think China has surpassed the U.S. as the “world’s dominant economic power.” One in three Americans think that by the end of the decade, the U.S. will be second to a rising China.

But what to do about our slumping fortunes, real or perceived? Invest in education? Pump out more engineers? Lower taxes? Raise taxes? These are complex questions with difficult answers. Which is particularly difficult to hear for a country that still plays by Vince Lombardi’s “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” rules. (Or more recently, Ricky Bobby’s “if you ain’t first, you’re last” mantra.)

Advertisement

In the vein of “think globally, act locally,” one Texas youth football league has taken it upon itself to toughen up its share of America’s pre-teens. Its plan to prepare kids for the real world: Stop handing out trophies for participation. “The biggest thing is we want to teach these kids everything in life isn’t going to be given to them,” the league's director, John Quinones,  told a Dallas TV station. “Your boss when you go to work isn’t going to give you a trophy just because you showed up on time.” Quinones elaborated further to the Dallas Morning News: “The give-everyone-a-trophy attitude can skew a kid’s worldview, he said. The sense of entitlement that kids have nowadays is tremendous.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.