Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?

Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?

Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?
Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?

I have a hard time with kids receiving a participation medal. I normally don’t believe in then. But, at young ages, they are just learning to love the game. They have their whole lives to learn how to lose. They don’t have to know everyone gets the medal they just known they got one. But there is a time and a place.

When They Are Okay

However, in tee-ball when L played in his first tournament he received his first medal. This was our first experience with it, and at this point, I would have said no. You earn a medal, but the look on his face said it all. He had played in his first tournament. Hours and hours in the blazing sun, with just a short break between games. The coach had hidden the medals and pulled them out at the end of the day. He may not have “won” his medal, but he earned that medal. 

His second tee-ball tournament was similar. His coach actually convinced the team that they needed to play harder if they had any hope of getting a medal. And they did. They played harder than ever and earned their medal in their own right.

Big H was getting incredibly burnt out during his first year of hockey. He had been counting down the day until was done for the year. Kindergarten 5 days a week, with hockey every weekend. There had been little to no break for 6 months. His love of the game has always been obvious, he’s passionate about hockey, but he was tired. His participation medal reaffirmed his love of the game. He knew his team only won 2/4 games but he started working extra hard so that maybe his team can win another one at his next tournament. 

When They Aren’t

The problem with participation medals, and with much of today’s society, is they don’t teach them how to lose. They learn to expect a reward for everything they do, even if they don’t do their best. You’re best isn’t always good enough, and that should drive to your work harder and play better, so that next time your best might be enough.

By L’s third year of baseball, we had turned a corner. He has now come to expect these medals, and he knows that at the end of the tournament he is going to walk away with a medal to hang on the wall. He no longer has to give it his all. We’re now moving on to our second year in the same division, and I know the same thing will happen.

This is one of the differences between hockey and baseball, while Big H is still getting participation medals in hockey, there is always another aspect. The heart and hustle, or the MVP awards DON’T go to every child. Those are earned. So even if they do get a participation medal or two through the year, they also have something to work harder for. – Not that it mattered this year, his team was undefeated. – This may not be how every league is set up. but it is how ours is.

Life Lessons and the Participation Medal

I always tell my boys, there is always going to be someone better than you, but the only thing I care about is that you are the best you can be. It’s true, I don’t care about the number of medals on the wall, I care that the tried their hardest.

There will always be times in their lives when they won’t win. They may not get 100 on their test, and they certainly won’t get all the jobs they interview for. They may start a business that fails or earn a degree that doesn’t make them millions. Learning as a child that you don’t win 100% of the time, will produce resilient, and confident adults.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that my job as a parent??

Posted by Jenn in Lifestyle, 8 comments
Four Reasons Why TeeBall Was Good For My Son

Four Reasons Why TeeBall Was Good For My Son

When I was growing up we didn’t do sports. I remember swimming lessons, a year of gymnastics, and my brothers played a bit of hockey or football. My husband was much the same, a little bit but nothing to carry forward, and nothing to encourage him to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. We are, determined that would not be the case with our own children. So when L was three we registered him into soccer, the only sport available for that age. He loved it for the first year, after that he quickly lost interest. At that point, we put him in TeeBall.

TeeBall was the way to this boys heart. From the very first time he hit the ball off the tee, he was sold. There was no looking back. All winter he checks to see if the snow has melted;  because he knows that when spring comes baseball starts again.

It is March, which means spring is technically right around the corner. I say technically because where I live the snow often falls well into May. However, spring brings baseball to this household. L is obsessed, much like Big H’s love of hockey.

L has now finished two years of TeeBall and has now moved on to the next level of the league, known as Rookie. While I am not sure what the coaching or skill level difference there will be between the two here is what we loved about TeeBall.


Working together to achieve a common goal is a lifelong skill that everyone needs to have. While at the TeeBall there is no score keeping it is still a team sport. They work together, and there is the “no man left behind” spirit when they make sure everyone gets a chance at each position.


They are going to learn how to play the game regardless of what age they start playing. But, in TeeBall they learn how to hit a ball without it flying at their face. Fear of getting hit in the face is exactly why I still flinch and often cower when a ball is flying my direction. – I probably look ridiculous flinching every time the ball even comes in the general direction of the stands – Towards the end of his second year, they started to try it without the tee, which will be an advantage in the next season.

The very first time L hit the ball off the tee he didn’t have a clue what to do, when he finally started running he brought the bat with him. This was a similar story for nearly every kid on his team. By the end of the season, you would never know they were the same kids, their skill level and knowledge had increased so much.


We have one local minor ball tournament a year. Each team plays the other local teams in the same division. It is one jam-packed baseball filled day. They don’t keep score in our local TeeBall league but that doesn’t stop the fun. It gives them a great idea of what to expect when they move on to the next divisions where they do keep score. At the end of the tournament, they hand out medals to all the teams. I am not a huge fan of “participation medals.” I am, however, a huge fan of anything to keeps kids interested. As they don’t keep score the kids play hard all day and they earn their medals in the most basic of ways.

More on my views of participation medals.

Last but most important:


If you can find a sport or activity that your kids love you will not have to fight with them to participate.  It took two years before we found TeeBall. When we did it was clear that it was a sport he wanted to play year after year. When it comes to practice he is waiting at the door ready to go.  That being said if the time comes in which he wants to try something else he will absolutely be given the chance.

At the end of the day, the only thing I really care about is that my children are happy. Baseball makes him happy and is one of the few things that can him smile like this:

What age did you put your kids into organized sports?


Four Reasons Why TeeBall Was Good For My Son
four reasons to sign your child up for teeball


Posted by Jenn in Fitness, 7 comments