Look out for the future, because you never know what it might bring…
Question #90539 posted on 11/13/2017 9:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are participation trophies really ruining society?

-My Name Here


Dear you,

I can't speak for everyone (although at least a few other writers seem to feel the same way), but I got a participation ribbon in Cub Scouts when I was like 9, and I can tell you it didn't make me feel like a winner. I mean, we all know who won the Pinewood Derby, it's not like participation means anything when you can see how much better someone else participated than you. 

Regardless of how many participation awards I could have received, my parents never celebrated mediocrity, and that may have made a difference. Maybe some parents are different, I don't know. It's not like I never see acceptance of mediocrity in the people around me (Cs get degrees, amirite?), but those aren't limited to the Millennial generation. It's important to remember that older people have been blaming the rising generation for society's ills since time immemorial, and it's usually about all the same things. Just don't pay too much attention to it; focus on improving yourself, and let the rest go like water off a duck's back.

-The Entomophagist


Dear Millenial Needing Happiness,

Anecdotally, no. I got participation medals every year in little league soccer (because my team was never good enough to even place in the tournaments), and it arguably made me feel worse than if I hadn't received anything at all, since I knew the only reason I was getting a medal was because I didn't do well enough to earn a real one.

But, even if today's young people were spoiled growing up by receiving participation trophies, it begs the question: whose idea was it to give them out in the first place? As I see it, the participation trophy idea just boils down to another case of older people trying to shove responsibility onto younger people.

-Frère Rubik


Dear nameless,

Obviously, because children who win trophies for getting first place feel the exact same as children who get trophies without placing.

But honestly, participation trophies can be a sign of failure. I've only kept the trophies I've won, because looking at those participation trophies just reminded me of when I failed. Kobe Bryant put it perfectly when he told his child who won 4th, "Well listen, get the fourth place trophy, go home. You take the fourth place trophy, you put it up right where you can see it, and when you wake up in the morning, you look at the trophy and you remind yourself of what you’ll never win again.” Maybe participation trophies are ruining society, because they serve as a physical reminder to children of all their failures.

-guppy of doom


Dear friend,

When I was in first grade I got a participation trophy for tee-ball that said "Most Valuable Player" and when I found out everyone got one I was really mad and ranted to my parents about how now EVERYONE could be the most valuable player and they were lying to me and I was very sad about it.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave


Dear reader,

No, but the idea surrounding participation trophies could be. There are just WAY too many confounding variables to say that one thing is destroying society.

-Sunday Night Banter


Dear Mirage,

I refuse to give an answer to this unless I get some sort of award or recognition for putting in my two cents.



Dear friend,

You imply that society wasn't flawed to begin with.

-Van Goff


Dear MNH,

No, but the widespread acceptance of mediocrity is.




Dear whippersnapper,

These dang Millennials with their darned participation trophies are ruining the world. In my day, winning meant that you wouldn't get beaten and that was enough for us - Millennials are as soft as avocados. They aren't loyal to their employers and they are so entitled that they even expect to be paid for their work! Also they are casual - don't they understand that to be professional is to be uncomfortable? They are always using the Facebook and the stupid Chatsnap because they are narcissistic and don't have real relationships with people. That's why they can't court the opposite sex. Plus, they are killing the napkin industry.

-Old people