Awards With Character
I just had a nice conversation with Leo Kennedy from Awards With Character. I’m doing a product showcase for the magazine on sports teams and was looking for products a little more off-the-beaten-path than cups, seat cushions and caps (not that there is anything wrong with any of those items).
Leo’s company provides trophies and other products as incentives to schools for both sports teams and academic programs. The difference is, his trophies aren’t brassy figures or silver cups, they are small (adorable, some would say) bear figurines talking part in various sports. Girl soccer bear. Boy baseball bear. Hockey bear (there is a “bear with me” joke waiting to happen here, but I’m not going to make it).
My point being if you’ve watched any youth sports there is a shocking trend of chest thumping, trash talking and general self-aggrandizement from kids way too young to have thought of it on their own. When a kid in the Little League World Series flips his bat down a la Barry Bonds and watches a home run sail out of the park (while still standing at home plate), you can’t tell me there is no effect. Because, clearly there is. What kids see the pros do has a huge influence them. 5-year-olds used to recognize “It’s a Small World,” now they are as apt to know the SportsCenter theme song (Da-da-dun, da-da-dun). And, that’s not even mentioning the third rail of the sports world, steroids. Say it ain’t so, Roger.
Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older (or am already “super old” as my coworker puts it), but it’s nice to see a trophy and a company that puts the emphasis on fun instead of winning. On team instead of the individual. Kids are kids, even if they happen to be on a soccer field or baseball diamond and maybe we should push back a little bit against the tide of me-first athletics.