Save Young Competition | Teen Ink

Save Young Competition

May 28, 2019
By SKennedyno.19 GOLD, Hereford, Other
SKennedyno.19 GOLD, Hereford, Other
13 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As far as I'm concerned you can throw all your medals in the bin because you got them from cheating." Brian Clough


Young Competition is Dying, Save It!

For seven years straight, I entered a skiing competition every December. For six years I tasted defeat, I saw people getting Gold medals, none for me. That all changed last year, it was my year, I practised hard, improved on my technique and I was finally ready to get my Gold medal, except, I wasn’t. Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals were replaced with a generic medal for everyone, one of my most hated concepts, the participation medal. I finished 1st and my medal was as good as finishing 7th.

Since I’ve grown up, I’ve seen our world become a lot less competitive, especially for children and teenagers. Back when I was competing in sports events at the age of six, there were three medals, Gold, Silver, and Bronze for the respective positions. The rest? They got nothing. That’s unheard of modern day, as, over the years, different sporting events started giving participation medals. I received some over the years, where are they now? I don’t have them that’s for sure, I never wore it, because I didn’t win, I lost. Participation medals are basically saying well, you lost, you came in last, but here’s a reward for trying. For the more academic people, it’s like writing a science paper, it’s terrible and it should be an E, but, since you tried your best, you get a B.

It’s one thing failing and using that failure to improve, it’s another thing failing and then getting rewarded for it. Everyone fails, I fail and you fail, what do you do with your failures though? Do you take it and live with it or do you improve and fix it? Children are getting medals for failing, it may sound harsh, but, they need to be prepared to grow up. When you’re an adult, you will never get a reward for failing, you might get one after you fix your failure, but, if you failed and didn’t fix your failure when your in a job, you could get fired, depending on how bad it is, there isn’t this ‘you tried your best’ concept. If you're a delivery man and you only successfully deliver three packages out of thirty, they’re not gonna say, ‘you tried your best, here’s your salary’, more likely you’ll be losing your job.

Participation medals aren’t the only problem, another problem is people saying, ‘It’s not about winning, it’s about participating and having fun.’ I believe that it’s the wrong attitude to have, I think the exact opposite, winning is important, having fun is a bonus. That phrase isn’t motivating at all. Normally it’s said after some kids or young teens lose a game of football, this makes them think, having fun is the main goal, so they don’t need to play well. With that attitude they won’t try to improve, therefore, they won’t play well, why? Because they lack motivation, no one pushing them to win.

Through competition, you learn so many important values, whether it’s sports, a maths competition, or any other form, you learn values such as work ethic, discipline, teamwork, and time management. These skills will be important in the overwhelming majority of people’s future. When you become an adult, I’ve been informed, it’s not all about fun, that’s part of it, but fun will not get you a job, nor a house, nor success, however,  the values that you gain from competition they will help you to get those necessities (Fields).

According to Amanda Fields, the best coaches in life are not the ones who don’t care if you don’t put in your best, but, the ones who push you most until you want to quit, the ones who criticise you, the ones who make you becomes stronger mentally and physically (Fields).

I was debating this topic with my mates, and they were saying, ‘leave it out, they’re just kids,’ they have years until they’re an adult, let them enjoy it. Who says you can’t have fun being competitive? I’m not at all saying you shouldn’t have fun, I like fun, but I think competition is more important than fun. I think competition is a lot more fun than something with nothing to play for. I’ve enjoyed my childhood, and I still did competitions which have given me the values to be able to transition into an adult.

I’ve witnessed throughout my childhood the world getting decreasingly competitive, especially for children. It all started with the dreaded phrase ‘It’s not about winning, it’s about taking part.’ Then came the participation medals, what’s the point of coming first, you might as well come last, you still get a medal, and in my case the same medal as 1st and last place. What’s next to come? Are we going to be getting participation trophies? Are there going to be be age limits on when people can start been competitive? Are professional sports going to be less competitive? Can we go back to the good old days where if you won, well done, here’s your medal, whereas, last place, got nothing other than the motivation of losing to improve and go again next time. Save competition!


The author's comments:

What’s the point of coming first, you might as well come last, you still get a medal


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