At what point do trophies become worthless?
Aside from Olympic medals worth their weight in…well, gold…most trophies have little monetary value whatsoever. Their main value is their sentimental value.
Of course, Flaming Bag of Poo is speculating all this. Because I’ve never actually won any sports trophy in my entire life–despite a lifelong devotion to sports. I cannot count the 18-inch high bowling trophy that I received for just participating in an adult-child bowling league. After all, they don’t let every hockey player hoist the Stanley Cup just for lacing up his skates.
Because of Facebook, whether I like it or not, I feel like I know every award and every trophy that my friends’ kids receive.
Kids practically get a trophy with every juice box. This will hardly prepare them for a life of disappointment (e.g. divorce, unemployment, watching every episode of “Lost” expecting that it will reveal a true closure to the island mysteries).
The trophies that we don’t win probably define us more than the trophies that we do win.
Back at College Gardens Elementary School, kids like me participated in an annual springtime tradition called “Field Day”. Essentially, “Field Day” was the Olympics of the playground. Instead of going to class, my classmates and I spent the entire day outdoors competing in as many as three different competitions that we had pre-chosen. Standing broad jump. Pull-ups. Basketball dribble and shoot. 50-yard dash. And at the end of the day, the entire school gathered on a hillside for the award ceremony.
In those days, usually the shortest boy in every class, Flaming Bag of Poo was small in stature, but big in heart. But nobody gets blue ribbons for heart. I’d have to actually go out and earn one on the field.
By sixth grade, though, I still hadn’t even earned a yellow third place ribbon. One of my best events was always the soccer ball punt competition. Other kids had power. I had technique. On this day, I punted the orange soccer ball farther than everyone else.
Only problem was, there were still a few more minutes left to enter the competition, and some of the bigger kids still hadn’t shown up yet. By the time three of them—the usual rule-breakers in my class–finally showed up, it was ten minutes past the official end time. I was already dreaming about finally walking in front of the whole school to collect my first award–a first place blue ribbon!
But to my shock and dismay, the teacher supervising the soccer ball punt competition allowed the three tardy rule-breakers to kick. And one-by-one, each rule-breaker kicked the ball past the spot on the field where my ball had landed before the deadline.
I finished fourth.
I’ll never forget that feeling as I sat there on the hillside of my final “Field Day”. To this day, when I visit my childhood home, I recall that feeling every time I walk past that hillside up the road.
I’d like to think that I’m a uniquely better person because I never won a trophy or award in sports back then. But of course, I have no way of ever knowing the difference.
Does the award or trophy really reflect who we are? Or what we will become?
It had Flaming Bag of Poo further wondering: are the supposedly top trophies in sports really worth winning? Let’s examine some of the more famous trophies in sports:
Heisman Trophy – Inch-for-inch, this 25 pound trophy is probably the heaviest award in sports. If you were Reggie Bush needing to return the Heisman Trophy (14” long, 13.5” high) to USC via UPS, it would cost him $132.59 using UPS 2nd Day Air; it sure ain’t getting there faster, since Bush has lost a few steps since his USC days and Kim Kardashian nights.
Vince Lombardi Trophy – Shouldn’t the NFL Super Bowl Trophy just be renamed the Walt Disney Trophy? Champions care more about their Disney World sound bite, more so than admiring the trophy in their hand. Nowadays, MVPs are skipping the classy Super Bowl award ceremony in order to be the first guy on the team to tweet “We won the Super Bowl, mother*ckers!”.
Larry O’Brien Trophy – Guaranteed, there is no teenager on any basketball court in America dreaming of hugging pro basketball’s Larry O’Brien Trophy. But if you bronzed a pair of Air Jordan, these kids would go to war in order to get their hands on them.
Commissioner’s Trophy – If trophies were weapons, baseball’s Commissioner’s Trophy would kill. The Golden Glove might have made a more memorable championship trophy. When I see the Commissioner’s Trophy, I worry someone will get impaled as if they fell on top of a picket fence.
Harley J. Earl Memorial Trophy and Borg-Warner Trophy – It’s no surprise that auto racing trophies are about as subtle as the color schemes and corporate logos splashed on every square inch of a driver jumpsuits or car hoods. The Daytona 500 trophy resembles the huge Bellagio vault that George Clooney and Matt Damon break into in “Ocean’s Eleven”. And the Indianapolis 500 trophy is so creepy with dozens of carbon-freeze Han Solo-like faces from “The Empire Strikes Back”.
Yet the most memorable and prized symbol of racing victory is a simple milk jug. You can’t buy that sort of glory—primarily because nobody knows where to buy an actual jug of milk. If Danica Patrick ever wins the Indy 500, she’ll probably drink a jug full of soy milk or almond milk from Trader Joe’s.
UEFA Champions League Trophy and FIFA World Cup Trophy – If you left either international soccer trophy on the ground somewhere within 99.9% of the United States, someone would mistake The UEFA Champions League Trophy for an umbrella stand.
The FIFA World Cup Trophy could easily be mistaken as one of those worthless knickknacks that is hollow inside in order to keep your valuables safe–since no burglar would ever think it was valuable.
Yellow Jersey and the Green Jacket – There should be a rule against clothing as trophies.
We don’t think of something as an actual trophy if it comes out of the closet fewer times than most Tour de France bicyclists and Masters golfers come out of the closet.
Claret Jug (British “Open Championship”) – all golf trophies look like a silver version of the fake Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade”.
Y’know, the wrong cup chosen poorly.
Boxing Title Belts – Dang, even a Texas cowboy would think those massive belt buckles are tacky. And when anyone from Texas is right, then it must be really, really wrong.
Stanley Cup – Usually considered the champion of all trophies, hockey’s Stanley Cup simply has the best publicist in sports.
Let’s face it, nobody would really care about the Stanley Cup without all the filthy stories about what players have done when they get it for a day. Hockey players like drinking booze out of the cup. That’s only because they haven’t taken a CSI blue light to see what else has been inside that cup.
Olympic Gold Medal – Unless you’re one of Donald Trump’s wives, this will always be the ultimate trophy.
Want to get laid in any bar in the world even if you don’t speak one word of the native language? Then whip out your gold medal. You can have zero personality (like Michael Phelps) and still get laid with eight gold medals around your neck. That’s why Flaming Bag of Poo is offering to buy one of skier Lindsey Vonn’s gold medals. Somehow, Flaming Bag of Poo doesn’t think Lindsey needs to wear a gold medal in the ski lodge’s hot tub in order to get laid.
These days, more athletes are winning trophies from “Dancing With The Stars” instead of one the real playing field.
Some trophies aren’t worth winning. But trophies are worth buying. Because Flaming Bag of Poo would look awfully silly walking into a singles bar with a 18-inch high bowling trophy hanging from my neck!