James Harrison: Father of the Year

I remember it like it was yesterday…

The year was 1991.  I was six years old playing in a coach-pitch coed softball league.  Our team was pretty good.  Three out of our 15 players could catch a fly ball that was hit directly to them.  That’s about three more decent fielders than most teams had.  We could hit, too.  Barely anyone on the team reached the six-strike limit that constituted a strikeout.  In a league where teams’ runs per half inning were capped at four, we consistently met that limit while our defense could hold the other team to three runs for at least one inning.  Sure, score was kept loosely at best.  Sure, there was no central office keeping record or standings.  But we knew we were the best.

In the last game of the season, all we had to do was beat the pink team (nice color, PANSIES!) to secure our spot as top dogs of the league.  As the game progressed, I saw a woman carrying a box of trophies towards the field.  TROHPIES: the reason I joined this league.  I was so excited and asked if those were our first-place trophies.  Yup, I was a cocky, confident little sucker back in the day.  What the woman said next changed my entire life.

“Nope,” she said.  “These are participation trophies.  Everybody gets one.”

OH.  MY.  GOD.

When my six-year-old self realized that we didn’t have to win to get a trophy, I was beside myself with joy.  I told the rest of our team about the situation and we gave up playing the rest of the game.  We weren’t in it for the fun of being outside, the excitement one feels when trying to make plays that the pros made on TV, or the basic human competitive instinct.  Nope, we were in it for that shiny piece of plastic.  From that point on, I joined dozens, if not hundreds, of teams not to compete or try to do well.  No, sir.  I was in it for the participation plastic!  If only I had a father like James Harrison, maybe I would have learned a thing or two.

As you have probably heard, professional football player, domestic abuser, and now-probable Trump running-mate James Harrison had some pretty eye-opening things to say about participation trophies:

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

That’s right, America.  Wake the hell up! jh2

I mean, participation trophies?  What was I thinking when I was six?  If I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor, I’d get in it right now, get that thing up to 88MPH, and kick my six-year-old ass for giving into BIG HIPPIE AMERICA!

Thank you, Mr. Harrison.  Your brave parroting of something that has been said more than a few times is what this country needs to break out of its losing streak and get back on top.  I mean, if we’re teaching our kids when they’re six years old that they’ll get a free paper weight that will more than likely be thrown away within a year if they LOSE, how are we going to stop the overall wussification of America? THANKS, OBAMA!

Forget that trophies do little-to-nothing to motivate self-motivated child athletes and that these self-motivated athletes are more likely to continue playing their sport beyond childhood.  Forget that less than 1% of the U.S. population is a professional athlete (with an average career of about four years) so that the striving for that endgame will face a myriad of challenges beyond reward schedules.  Participation trophies are threatening everything we know and love.  They’re turning kids into entitled little socialists (Beck, O’Reilly, & Hannity, never).  It takes a leader like James Harrison to ignore science and statistics and give us that “Beyond Scared Straight” pep talk we need.

If James Harrison ever received a participation trophy, do you think he would have the balls to try recklessly injure multiple players?

Certainly not.

If James Harrison ever received a participation trophy, do you think he’d have the mental fortitude to so eloquently call out his boss and teammates publicly?  Psh.  Nope.

Yes, the world needs more James Harrisons.  We need more LEADERS OF MEN who turn a blind eye to research just to say something that sounds good.  We need more people who think outside the box.  My girlfriend can’t call the police if I destroy her phone!  BRILLIANT!  We need more people who announce their philosophies to the world in public forums in hopes of getting countless pats on the back.

What we don’t need are cheap trophies given to losers.  We don’t need to coddle our five- and six-year-olds after defeat.  How are we going to properly measure them (besides grades in school and thousands of standardized tests) if we reward them just for showing up to things?  If they lose on the gridiron, diamond, rink, or court, make them go out and earn for themselves.

Looking back, the only thing that Midgets Baseball League did for me was NOT give into the PC POLICE and change its name to the “Little People Baseball League.”  KEEP AWAY FROM OUR SUBURBAN CLEVELAND RECREATIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUES, TREE HUGGERS!  It certainly didn’t teach me any life lessons.  All it did was provide a social setting to meet new people, hone my skills in a no-pressure environment, sort out those self-motivated athletes from those who had no interest in athletics in a non-embarrassing method, and laid a basic foundation for the concept of teamwork.  But it never gave me that thirst for blood or that edge to become part of the 1% of professional athletes.  And that is all due to participation trophies.  What a waste.  Where was my dad during these formative years of my childhood when participation trophies were being handed out?  So what if he was coaching every single team I played on?  He let me accept those trophies that I knew were useless and didn’t want anyway.  If only James Harrison was my father, maybe I wouldn’t be such an entitled loser.



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