We have just recently moved homes now that the children have grown and we are down to the last chore, unpacking what was in the old garage into our new smaller garage. When we packed the old garage I swear we sold, threw away or donated 75% of what was in there, which was basically crap. We held a garage sale and sold anything of value like old bikes, sporting equipment, posters, some tools, ski clothing, fishing gear, picture frames, lamps…anything. The prices on each item went from $1.00 to $20.00 for a used bike, but the majority of items went from $2.00-$5.00. It would probably have killed me to have seen what we originally paid for the items. I’m sure the markdown was about 98%. We donated to the Salvation Army what we thought was worthy of being used again and the stuff remaining like old winter clothes, bicycle parts, broken sporting equipment, even the kids past art projects all got the heave-ho. We packed up what we thought was valuable enough to move, mainly pictures of the family growing up and some files with important documents. We soon ran into a small dilemma…what do you do with the trophies 3-children had acquired over their lifetime of youth sports and high school? My wife wanted to just throw them away, seeing no value in them. She was right, most of them were just cheap plastic with few if any memories. Something inside me said we should keep them and I don’t know why. What is our fixation with trophies that we feel should be preserved over time? I mean they now give trophies away for any reason. When a child would participate in a youth sport they used to give-a-way PARTICIPATION ribbons or certificates which were usually lost in the first 24-hours. These ribbons were given out if you just showed up and were meant to make each kid feel rewarded, all it took was the ability to walk. But somewhere along the line they replaced these with a Participation Trophy which again made it harder to throw away. In fact trophies became so popular you would win one for almost any reason…Most Improved, Most Valuable, Best Offensive and Defensive Player, Best Special Teams, Most Inspirational. Even the schools got in to the trophy craze with trophies for Best Attendance, Best Grades, Best in History, Math, English, etc.. It used to be that 2 or 3 kids from a team or a school class would get special awards, now it was 100% getting trophies for participating and 6-8 more getting a second trophy for an individual achievement. I agree with making every kid feel special…but why trophies? What in us makes us love getting a trophy? Do we see the pros on TV holding their championship trophies high in the air and want that rush for ourselves. Is it the little plastic figurine on top that makes it so special? Do we enjoy showing our trophies to others to verify are skills, or do we just enjoy shoving it in another person’s face and saying, “Hey, check this out. I got a trophy and you didn’t. That makes me better than you”. I hope not. My theory is that trophies have gotten so cheap to make out of plastic that we feel we are getting something great for a very cheap price. The best trophies are team trophies for an accomplishment as a team. Seeing the Stanley Cup being hoisted above a NHL player’s head is something special, or the Vince Lombardi Trophy after a Superbowl, The Larry O’Brien Trophy for the NBA Champs and the Commissioner’s Trophy after the World Series. Team trophies mean something…going all the way with one goal in common among all the team members. Everyone feels included. Perhaps the most sought after trophy in the world is the FIFA World Cup Trophy given to the world’s best soccer team every four years…that is something special to not only the players but to the whole country that they represent. In fact with children I think they should put more emphasis on team accomplishments versus individual, everyone wins. Well, we ended up throwing away 90% of the trophies that had no real sentimental value and kept the remaining 10% that were significant. It turns out my children weren’t interested in keeping them anymore anyway so the decision was easy. I think the thrill is in just receiving a trophy, after that they just collect dust. I was happy that the trophies that meant the most to them were the team championship ones like winning a CIF title and even those seemed more important to me than the kids. I think trophies are like pennies, you feel guilty throwing them away even though they are of little value, but it is still US currency and a trophy is still a supposed testament to high achievment . I wonder if kids are so used to getting trophies it has become like a piece of paper to them and finds it’s way to the trash eventually, or are parents keeping every one on display so visitors feel like they are entering Michael Jordan’s room when they come over.