Children holding trophies
via Jotagolpe

North Carolina GOP’s Bill Targets Youth Athletes

A North Carolina General Assembly bill would ban so-called “participation trophies” awarded to youth athletes solely for taking part in an event.

State Senator Timothy Moffitt, a Republican from Hendersonville, introduced his bill, titled “Eliminate Participation Trophies”, on Thursday.

“Youth sports or other youth recreation activities operated under the authority of a local government shall not include awards for participants based solely on their participation in the sport or other activity,” the bill says. “Awards provided in connection with the activity, if any, shall be based on identified performance achievements.”

The bill does not define “youth” with an age range or provide any other specifics.

Why Are Participation Trophies so Popular?

Participation trophies are commonly associated with millennials, but they’ve been used in some form for decades.

They are given to children (most typically, although some adult competitions feature them as well) who don’t place in the top 3 in competition therefore would not normally qualify for an award.

Critics believe they promote narcissism and entitlement among children.

“Trophies for all convey an inaccurate and potentially dangerous life message to children: We are all winners. This message is repeated at the end of each sports season, year after year, and is only reinforced by the collection of trophies that continues to pile up,” writes Betty Berdan.

“We begin to expect awards and praise for just showing up — to class, practice, after-school jobs — leaving us woefully unprepared for reality.”

Proponents argue they reward effort and provide recognition for trying new things, which critics say can be accomplished without literal participation trophies.

“Kids are learning about their abilities and strengths and vulnerabilities all the time, every day. It’s not easy and it’s inescapable,” Candida Fink M.D. wrote for Psychology Today.

“Young children aren’t developmentally ready to face the adult world of competition and winning and losing. This notion treats children as if their brains and bodies are just those of ‘little adults’—but child development science shows this idea to be wrong, even dangerous.”

Moffitt has not commented on the legislation at this time.


  1. If a young person is awarded for just showing up, why would they want to compete? An award is an award.

  2. Another bull-shite governmental attempt to discredit people, this time, the youth of our country. Participation recognition is very important, as it too, give the children incentive to participate and do their best, even though they aren’t ‘the cream of the crop’.

    What is next? No more gold stars in school for participating in class? No more teacher sponsored pizza parties for the class for group participation?

    Children need incentives! Specially if they aren’t the top athletes or scholars.

    Shame on you, State Senator Timothy Moffitt, for not being smart enough to understand the need for participation rewards.

    • Poppycock !!! Group participation trophies in sports or in the classrooms are
      learning our young people it’s okay to not do there best. Back in the day we tried
      harder to make that C average, just to play on that sport’s team. As for those gold stars, there are also silver,red,blue and so on that can be put on their papers.
      Group Participation is part of the dumbing down of our young people. This was to help parents of little education or intelligence to also feel better.

  3. its called teaching your children its OK if you don’t win. about life. sportsmanship. your feelings may get hurt but YOU will survive.

  4. Children are naturally competitive; ever hear of sibling rivalry? Rewarding mere appearance is teaching a very unrealistic lesson. Your boss isn’t going to pay you for just showing up; he expects you to work your best too; that’s the lesson NOT learned when everyone gets a trophy.

  5. When I was 12 or 13 (late 60s) I bowled in a father and son league. My brother was 5 years older and also was in the league. For some reason I don’t remember, I was not on my dad’s team, my brother was. I wasn’t a good bowler and felt bad about dragging my team down, and did not have anyone there to coach me. I had more potential but not enough experience and was with strangers. My father and brother were excellent bowlers and very competitive and their team finished high in the rankings. My team was fairly low in the rankings. They handed out a trophy to all the young bowlers. Mine was one that simply said “I Tried”. I almost threw it away before heading home but instead took it apart and kept the nice piece of wood to practice wood carving, the rest I smashed with a hammer and threw in the trash. I had almost forgotten about it, and looking back that was the best way to not be defined by the one absolutely asinine trophy that I “won” in my life. A trophy to commemorate failure is stupid and even offensive.

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