Trophies for Trying? Social media post sparks debate - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Trophies for Trying? Social media post sparks debate

Image source: @jhharrison92/Instagram Image source: @jhharrison92/Instagram
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is known for being a relentless competitor.  He’s obviously instilling that drive in his sons. 

In an Instagram post that has generated much discussion, Harrison posted a photo of a pair of participation trophies given to his sons.

In the accompanying text, he said he was giving them back, until they “earn a real trophy."

"It’s unfortunate that he thinks participation in sports does not have value, because there is a lot of value in participation," said Jeaney Garcia of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Garcia points to numerous studies showing positive impacts on youths in sports.

"You do better in school, you're more likely to go to college.  You're more likely not to do drugs.  So there's a lot of research based on participation," she said.

So why is it so polarizing? The post has generated upwards of 16,000 likes.  Garcia says it’s an attack on the entitlement mentality, and that resonates with many.

"I like the idea that he's setting a standard for excellence, because Positive Coaching Alliance is all about excellence, and it is about winning."

Ultimately, for organizations like the Positive Coaching Alliance, it's the ability to strike a successful balance between competition and participation that's most important for kids in athletics.

 "We want kids to be better, we want them to make their teammates better and we want them to understand the game is bigger than just themselves."

James Harrison's full Instagram post reads:

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 while until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues

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