Trophies, Little League Baseball, and Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk speaks truth about trophies and Little League
I've been on a Gary Vaynerchuk kick for the last year. The man is an absolute hustler and puts out some of the best business growth content on the Internet. If you need a push or an idea, he's your go-to guy.

I had the opportunity to see Vaynerchuk speak live in Philadelphia this past week along with legends Tony Robbins and Les Brown. Think of these three as the Murderers Row of self-motivation and entrepreneurship.

About midway through his 50-minute keynote, Vaynerchuk launched into a diatribe about how youth today carry a sense of entitlement and, in his signature GaryVee way amidst a fury of f-bombs, tied the entitlement issue back to Little League.

Paraphrasing here, but Vaynerchuk told the audience we're celebrating mediocrity and promoting an entitlement mentality with the trophy for everyone approach.

The applause from the 6,000 people in attendance lasted nearly 20 seconds. It's an unpopular thing to say, but it needed to be said. I'm a Little League coach myself but stand with Vaynerchuk on this.

I get the value of the trophies for the little kids, but why does every eight-year-old on the seventh-place team in Whatever Township deserve a participation trophy?

Will all due respect to Woody Allen, I've never believed the mantra of "80 percent of success is just showing up." I'm not saying coaches and parents should chide their 11-year-old for a botched double play, but at what point does there become a differentiator in winning and losing?

I'm not an old man shouting at the clouds and I'm not some curmudgeon advocating MLB to abandon the wildcard, but I am a coach and a father and I heartily affirm we're doing a disservice to future generations by sanitizing success and rewarding little more than just showing up.

Kids under the age of eight, fine, give'em a trophy. It'll make them smile and ideally return next season. At some point though, I want that smile to be authentic and produced via something they rightfully deserve.

Entitlement is a crutch, a disease that left unchecked can derail a young adult from the realities of life.

We're not owed anything in life, so why bait our children into a mindset that's not reality?
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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