Are Participation Trophies Teaching the Right Values?

Are handing out participation trophies creating an entitled generation, or are they warranted and teaching the right values?

It’s an interesting debate.

Lots of parents seem to dislike it because a participation award sends the message that we are too easy on our children and aren’t teaching them the cruel realities of life. The kids, however, smile from ear-to-ear when they receive their awards and showcase them on their mantels.

Let’s discuss the arguments for and against participation trophies, according to Spike’s Trophies, a leading trophy manufacturer in Philadelphia.

The Argument For It


  • Rewarding Effort – Despite the record of a team and ability of an athlete, children should be rewarded for showing up to the practices, working hard, learning and improving their talents, and being there for his teammates. Making a commitment and keeping it should be recognized.
  • More To Sports Than Winning - Focusing on just winning and losing doesn’t emphasize the other lessons and values that are important. There is a time to recognize winning and losing, but not in the pre-teen years. Improvement is more important than wins and losses.
  • Better Than Sitting At Home - One of the reasons why children play sports is so they’re not sitting at home and playing video games or watching television all day long. That ribbon or trophy is an award for going out and doing something. There should be some value in that.


The Argument Against It

In August of 2015, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jerome Harrison came home disgusted that his two boys “earned” participation trophies. He went and sent them back.

Here’s what he had to say about it via his Instagram:

“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues

The people who oppose participation trophies say it builds entitlement and creates a false sense of self-importance. Too many trophies and awards devalues the meaning of accomplishment.

Get Your Trophies From Spike

Of course, we hope that you’re for participation awards and if you are looking for the best trophies in NJ and PA, look no further than Spike’s Trophies. We encourage you to visit our website at or give us a call at 855-652-4030.