Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer informed the world that he had broken his kid’s participation trophy out of some sort of duty.
People reacted as if this was a thing that happened because Breer said it happened. Turns out, the joke is on all of those people because that’s not what happened, Breer seemed — seemed — to reveal only after retweeting a score of angry comments from people who thought it was real.
Although, stay tuned, there could be another twist coming. There are many layers to this performance.
What can we learn from the social experiment?
Well, for one, people will quite rightly point out that those who would destroy their children’s trophies are a bit misguided. It hardly seems controversial to say that when presented with the choice of destroying objects that exist to give kids self-worth or leave them intact, there’s an easy choice.
If you really have a problem with participation trophies, there are probably better ways to grapple with it than smashing Little Johnny’s property. You know, like explaining the difference between earned prizes and those given to everyone, using words and reason instead of brute force.
Breer’s okie doke worked particularly well because he seems a likely candidate to do something like this and possesses a personal brand that often questions why people get offended. Had Adam Schefter done something similar, people wouldn’t have fallen for it. Danny Kanell? Maybe.
So, yeah, there’s no need to get worked up by any of this, or attack Breer. But I still don’t know what we’re supposed to take from this, other than when you do something particularly triggering, people will get triggered.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to smash all anything pink in my son’s room so he doesn’t get soft. Can’t have it.
In all seriousness, the best participation trophy take appeared on this very website. Kids are perceptive and smart and unmotivated by relatively cheap baubles. Let’s start giving them credit for knowing that there are winners and losers, that a dumb plastic trophy doesn’t supersede what happened on the field, and isn’t a motivating factor in why they play.