In Defense Of Participation Trophies

(Getty/Highwaystarz-Photography)

Few dad trends have been as puzzling in recent years as the overwhelming backlash against participation trophies. Any mention of them elicits an eye roll and a “back in my day” rant. And to those people I will concede a major point: participation trophies are pretty meaningless. But do you know what else is meaningless? ALL TROPHIES!

Yeah, if you’re 12-years-old, it’s neat to have a cool little trophy because you scored more goals than the other couple dozen kids your age that live in Ohio AND own hockey equipment. But if you care about that trophy a year or more later, guess what? You’re actually kiiiind of a loser!

I say we flood the current generation with trophies. Maybe that way, they’ll grow up in an era without car salesmen trying to talk about the time they won state in 1992 and without adults wearing jewelry for something that happened before they were old enough to buy cigarettes.

“Oh, really? You were a rarely used relief pitcher on a Division IV team that allllllmost made the regional finals? Please, tell me more, I actually came into this bank for story time, not to set up a college fund for my kids.”

The backlash against participation trophies reached a crescendo several years ago when an NFL All-Pro linebacker posted on Instagram about how he made his sons return their participation trophies because they didn’t “earn them.”

(Instagram/jhharrison92)

This fueled the Hot Takes Machine™ for weeks as thousands echoed his beliefs and praised him as a great dad. Even Kevin Federline agreed.

If you apply any critical thought to that claim, it disintegrates quickly.

How good of a dad are you really if you humiliate your kids with an Instagram post to millions of followers about how your sons aren’t good enough at football? Imagine the pressure of playing football as the son of an All-Pro, and then your dad signal-boosts your gridiron failures to millions. This ignites a national debate where the consensus is reached that we’re being too nice to our loser kids. You have now actively made life worse for kids who aren’t athletic or aggressive enough to earn their father’s love. Your lackluster football skills have become the Helen of Troy in the war on participation trophies AND your dad gets praised for it. What a life!

Also, the part about returning the trophies doesn’t make sense, because that’s not how trophy stores work. They don’t vet the trophies that go out the door. They don’t care if your mom is really the #1 Mom. If they did, they wouldn’t sell dozens of those. They just care if you have the $12 to pay for your lame Mother’s Day gift. Also, the people at BIG TROPHY were probably furious about this story. The participation trophy is the best thing to happen to the industry in decades and has likely paid for multiple condos in Gatlinburg.

My grade-school soccer team finished in second place every season, and for that we got a small trophy. Looking back, it’s entirely possible that every team was fed this line about “finishing in second” and that we were gas-lighted into accepting participation trophies. But who cares? It was fun to have for a week and then we all moved on to something else.

If it makes my kids a little happier to get a cheap trophy at the end of every season, so be it. And if it helps teach their generation to have a personality beyond a letterman jacket, it’ll be more than worth it.

Artist Wife Illustrates The Drastic Ways Her Husband’s Life Changed After Kids

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Chen Weng, an illustrator who goes by the name The Messycow, has created a series of comics showing just how much things change when one becomes a father.

Which do you relate to most?

(Facebook/MesscowComics)
(Facebook/MesscowComics)
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(Facebook/MesscowComics)

Check out more from this series on The Messycow’s Facebook page and website.

Dad Dinosaur: Prehistoric Reunion

Dad Dinosaur’s high school reunion is fast approaching, but will he be able to win the big dance contest – or are his moves stuck in the past?

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Father Figures: Risky Business

“As the garage door closed behind me, I heard a muffled whimper.

“What is that?” I wondered. Another whimper and I noticed eight fingers on the lid of one of the garbage cans in the corner. I spy a set of eyes, then a nose and finally my oldest son’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“What happened? Where is your brother?” No answers, just sobbing.

He moped toward the door and I followed him into the kitchen. I half-expected to see CSI investigators hovering over a chalk outline.

We walked around the corner by the refrigerator, and only then did I see his brother and allow myself to take my first breath. Then I saw a hole in the drywall the size of a young boy’s torso.

They had been running & sliding, in their stocking feet, across the marbled kitchen floor. Obviously a bit too exuberantly! I was relieved that they were both okay, but I still mustered enough anger to quash any future escapades.

Each blamed the other, of course. I used to say I couldn’t always tell when my kids were lying, but I could always tell when they were telling the truth.

If that makes any sense to you, I’m guessing you’ve raised at least two boys.”

  • Ron Fuller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
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(Twitter/tombobnyc)
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(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.