Thursday, June 14, 2012

Consolation Trophies

My house is still in upheaval with the DIY improvement projects, and I consequently have a few things unpacked from boxes with no place to go, so they sit in random spots where I occasionally stare at them.

Like these basketball trophies from days of yore.

They look all sparkly and shiny and gold and blue, but I've started considering what they mean, if anything, and wondering why I still have them.

One of them has this inscribed on the plaque: "1996 DVCS Girls Basketball COACHES AWARD."

I remember the coach that gave this to me, the coach that started our team during fifth grade, the coach that ended up sticking with us through half of high school, and the coach for whom I kept playing, even when I didn't like playing anymore.  I've got this loyalty thing sometimes.

What I don't remember is why he gave this to me.  The Coaches Award was essentially a consolation prize.  After the "Most Valuable Player" and "Most Inspirational Player" and "Most Improved Player" awards were presented, they would give one or two coaches awards.  Sometimes the reason would be an outstanding game at some point during season, or for the player's efforts on the court and off, perhaps in the form of team captain duties.  But then, sometimes the trophy was given because they didn't want the other girls, or one other girl in particular, to feel left out, or to feel jipped.  It turned into a "political" move the last couple of years I played, which disgusted me.

However, in 1996, I was twelve, which would put me in seventh grade, which would be right before the political stuff.  And before I lost interest in the game.

Thinking about it now, even though I don't remember why I received it, I'm pretty sure I was proud of the reason.  There might be a printed certificate to go with this around here somewhere, and it might tell me why, but for now, I just have this object of granite and plastic, depicting a girl in mid-dribble, and all I can say for it is, "Oh, yeah.  That."

The other trophy I have is from 1997 - the "Most Improved Player" award.

For a while, I hated this thing.

A lot of people I've talked to agree that the "Most Improved Player" award was created for the kid that tries really hard but doesn't actually contribute much to the team.  It's so they don't feel like a failure.

Being the recipient of one, I agree with that statement, but I still think the "Most Improved Player" award is an important award in its conception.  If a child's efforts, despite the outcome, are not recognized and encouraged, then the child does not learn the value of hard work.  They only learn the value of results, and will either develop a workaholic's mindset, or never put effort into anything.

Sometimes, I wish they had "Most Improved Player" awards in the adult world.

So why do I still have this one?  It just sits there and stares at me, this object of granite and plastic with one girl trying to block another girl's shot, and it reminds me more of the things at which I've failed than the things at which I've tried hard and succeeded, even if marginally.

But I still can't bring myself to discard these pieces of my youth, not yet, and so they'll stick around, either in my closet or in a box or on a secluded shelf, taking up space and collecting dust, while I grapple with the meaning of my existence and let some memories fade into apathy.



  1. Perhaps you keep them around for the same reason I have a box of old awards and ribbons and medals and trophies. Memory. The more experiences I have in life, the more it seems like my adolescent memories have been slipping. There has become a disconnect between the adult me and the child me. I never look at these things unless I am looking for something else or organizing, once again, my storage boxes. But when I look at them, memories that have no other reason to surface are suddenly vivid in my mind. It is nice. A reminder of a different time and a seemingly different person. A reminder that those experiences still shaped who I am today even if my memory has decided indifference towards them.

    1. I've decided I agree with you. I do find that the more life experience I have, the more my childhood and adolescent memories fade. Some memories need to fade, but others... others I don't want to lose. Thanks, Krista. :)