James Harrison voices opposition to ‘participation trophies’

August 17, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison doesn’t believe in “participation trophies,” a fact made abundantly clear this weekend when he forced his kids to return a couple of awards they brought home from a sports competition.

Harrison said via Instagram that while he’s proud of his kids, he believes everything should be earned. Sometimes, he wrote, just trying your best is not enough.

“I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned,” he said,” 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.”

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Harrison knows a thing or two about earning your keep. The 37-year-old went undrafted in 2002 and today stands as a five-time Pro Bowler, earning the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008.

Harrison is certainly not alone in his disdain for “participation trophies.” Many coaches and parents feel the same way about youth leagues that play games without keeping score. The thought is that children should not be shielded from the pain and life lessons that come with loss and failure.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below or send an email to [email protected].

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