From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

Resolutions & Participation Trophies

By Julie Reardon

Resolutions & Participation Trophies

Every year, the Publisher asks us for our New Year’s resolutions. Since I don’t normally make them, I thought it might be fun to make just one for 2017. So this year, I think I’ll find someone or something to blame for every bad thing that happens in my life. I might even take up the rallying cry of white trash everywhere when something goes wrong and shriek, “I’ll sue you!” And I’ll be expecting a trophy for any sport or competition I enter, along with praises and honors for non-participation.

I don’t think I’d be the only one that would benefit from the new culture of participation trophies. It has some enticing possibilities for country living, especially out here where people brandish money like it’s a trophy. It might even serve to bring down the prices of big showy mansions with manicured acreage if everyone just left things au naturel. And imagine how exciting our spring steeplechase season will be when horses line up and walk to the finish line. Jumping the obstacles could be optional. Horse shows, too, might benefit from a kinder, gentler approach to awarding ribbons. Why bother to be the best if mediocre will get you a ribbon? You could save all kinds of money on instruction, show clothing and tack and all kinds of time spent practicing, not to mention the elbow grease and labor spent on cleaning and braiding your horse to look nice. And year end awards? Pffft, who needs those?

Dog shows and performance events would be well served with participation trophies for anything canine with a pulse. The growing sport of dogs jumping off docks should reward all who give it a try instead of the ones that leap the furthest. As for the shows that are beauty pageants, shouldn’t the ugly ones get something too? And field trials are way too cut throat; I propose affirmative action for retriever field trials because they’re dominated by Labradors and I have Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. I think you should get an automatic trophy for entering a Chesapeake or a Golden Retriever. Further, if you pay your entry fee and show up, you should get a ribbon and points toward your dog’s Field Champion title.

Exciting possibilities cross all sporting lines, from high school football to traveling soccer leagues, if everyone got to win. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to watch track and field sports where no one was timed, no jumps were measured and everyone was declared a winner? We could take tackling, sacking and blocking out of football entirely, from junior varsity through the NFL. No one would have to worry about concussions or question a touchdown or penalty flag. Marathons and half marathons would be much more fun if everyone who crossed the finish line, heck everyone who lined up at the start, got a trophy. No need for grueling workouts and training.

Wineries out here, too, could benefit from a new kinder, gentler culture if they won prizes for batches of vinegary swill not fit for hogs at the prestigious wine judgings here and abroad. Why discourage a winery from making something that tastes awful? The vintner no doubt spent as much time on the swill as they did on their good stuff, so let’s recognize that effort. Visitors trying to choose from among the area’s many wineries, or seeking to buy a Virginia wine, don’t really need to know which are the best, because the sorry tasting ones aren’t their fault.

Along those same lines, the competitions at county fairs for the best pie, biggest gourd, finest lamb or calf aren’t really needed, especially as many children exhibit there, and we sure wouldn’t want their tender psyches damaged by not getting a blue ribbon and trophy.

So, dear readers, let me hear from you. What sports or events do you think would benefit from more participation trophies? Happy New Year to everyone!

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