BUY 4 PREMIUM T-SHIRTS GET ONE FREE! -- Add 5 Premium Shirts to Your Cart, You Will Only Pay for 4!


2nd Place Awards Are Glorified Participation Trophies

2nd Place Awards Are Glorified Participation Trophies

Libertarian Country |

Photo Credit: Crown Awards


"These liberal snowflakes are destroying our country with their safe spaces and participation trophies!" a man angrily posts on his Facebook feed.

He's enraged because the spirit of competition has been diluted. He's right. In competition, there are only winners and losers.

However, the same man applauds his son for "winning" second place in a big soccer tournament the following week. On Facebook, he posts, "My son really brought the heat! We're so proud of him for winning second place!"

What kind of snowflakery are we dealing with here?

Don't get me wrong, we appreciate any father who supports and encourages their children, but your son's team didn't win the soccer tournament; they lost. Second place is just a glorified participation trophy. There can only be one winner.

I've competed in Taekwondo tournaments throughout my years of practicing martial arts. I've won some and lost some.

As someone who embraces the tenets and philosophy of martial arts, I believe in showing encouragement, support, and love for those you compete against, whether you win or lose.

It's an honorable exhibition of good etiquette to pat your friends on the back when they lose. It's noble to shake hands with the athlete who beats you. Losing is something we all must face. It's how we learn and grow.

Our reward for losing shouldn't be a trophy. That's shameful. Our reward is knowledge. Our reward is the memory of losing. It gives us the drive and determination to win the next time. We should lose with dignity. Loss can be the voice that says, "they got you this time, but you'll get them next time."

Good sportsmanship means behaving respectfully and well toward your teammates and competitors. But part of good sportsmanship is acknowledging that, no matter how well the competitors perform, there can only be one winner.

The concept of 2nd and 3rd place "winners" is a vile travesty unto the paradigm of competition, just like the infamous participation trophy. If courage, performance and ability can justify a 2nd or 3rd place "win," you can also justify rewarding the entire tournament with "winning" trophies.

There's a fallacy to the concept. If 20 people are racing towards a finish line, 20 people are competing to see who among them is the fastest. The person who crosses the finish line first is the winner. They were the fastest.

Awarding the person who came behind the fastest runner is pointless charity. Why not a 4th place winner? What about a 5th-place trophy? Let's get wild and start handing out 10th-place awards!

Some people will argue that it depends on the size of the competition. False. Sure, it may be cool to see your name on the leaderboard, beating 489 out of 499 competitors, but you still lost the competition if you're not in first place. It doesn't matter if it's a race with 10 people or 10,000 people, there can only be one winner.

Bigger competitions make for bigger wins, not more winners.

It doesn't make any sense to hand out awards or trophies to people who lost the competition. It's a waste of raw material if you ask me. Nobody really wants to be seen in a picture hoisting a 2nd place trophy over their head. They want the 1st place trophy. Because the 1st place trophy is the only trophy with real value, it's the winner's trophy.

We have a severe problem in our country and across the globe. We're telling people they are winners when they're not. It's unhealthy to lie to people in this way. They know you're lying and feel worse being handed false wins and charity.

Trophies are great. They're a symbol of all that goes into training, competition and a win. I say we stop the participation trophies AND the 2nd and 3rd place trophies. Just give awards to the real winners.

Of course, as a libertarian, I believe tournament organizers can structure their competitions however they so desire. I don't think it should be a law that only 1st place winners should get trophies. It's just my opinion, nothing more.


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like, 'Risk-Taking and Gambling are Not The Same.'

Libertarian Shirts