Tom Hanks made it known in plain English that there is no crying in baseball. Well I want to make it known just as plainly that THERE AIN’T NO SUCH THING AS A 6TH PLACE MEDAL IN A LEGIT TRACK AND FIELD COMPETITION!
Where is all of this coming from? Well a few days ago my 11th grade daughter brought home a medal from her track meet that she participated in on the previous weekend. I was wondering what the medal was for because I knew she only ran in one event since her other event, the 4x200m relay, was scratched due to a teammate’s injury.
The one event she ran in was the 4x100m relay. From what I remember there was a bad hand-off that caused them fall behind and cross the finish line in 6th place. I won’t be petty or passive aggressive and mention that if her coach didn’t switch up their events every week that maybe their relay teams would have better chemistry.
But I’m gonna chill on that and get back on subject. So my daughter explained to me that the medal was for that 6th place finish. My response was “it don’t count.” Does that make me a bad father?
I don’t think so. Let me explain. I continuously hear red blooded American sports fans complain about the wussification of America and in this instance I couldn’t agree more. I haven’t seen a participation ribbon since my last field day at Horne Elementary. That was 30 years ago.
In track and field there are 3 possible medal placements; Gold, Silver, and Bronze. There is no fourth(copper), fifth(lead), and damn sure no 6th place(Asphalt) medalists. In other words the hosts of this meet decided it would be cool to take these athletes back to elementary and give them participation ribbons.
If you didn’t do good enough to place in the top 3 then you don’t get a medal. That’s the rules. If you don’t medal then hit the track a little harder at practice and go for it again next meet. Dig?
Now by no means was I belittling my daughter’s efforts, and she knows this. I’m very proud of her for busting her butt everyday after school to shave a few milliseconds off of her best times no matter what place she gets in the meet. I’m proud of her for sticking to what she started even though her legs and feet are aching after every practice.
She also knows that I won’t tip toe through the tulips and pussyfoot around with her when it comes to telling her the real. The world don’t hand out participation ribbons.
The world only rewards winners. The land lord doesn’t want to hear “I’m sorry for not having my rent this month Mr Jones, but I tried my best. I gave it a good go.” They want results. They want their bread.
Highschool sports help prepare student athletes for society. I still utilize the many lessons that I learned from playing football in school. The main lesson that I carry on is that even if you don’t like your teammates, or y’all come from different backgrounds eleven players have to be on one accord every play or you’ll get the hell beat out of you. That applies to my modern day life as a forty year old involved in leading crews on job sites.
Sports also help young men and women deal with success and failure. It prepares them for wins and losses in life. It shows them that even though you lost the game(job), match(repossession), or race(relationship), you can still lace up your shoe strings and go at it again.
A loss ain’t the end of the world and a win don’t make you a champion for life. You gotta defend the title or someone will take your spot.
I feel that we are doing our future generations a disservice by painting a false picture of what real life is actually like. I know I sound like “get off my lawn you young punk” guy but this hipster generation ain’t got the grit of the old school.
Give your child a hug and some encouraging words for doing their best and coming in 6th place, not a medal.