Posted: May 2, 2013

In the current world we live in of excessive political correctness and walking on eggshells during our daily lives so as not to offend someone and get sued, we are coddling our children. Anything that could be deemed to damage the precious ego of our children is now viewed as inappropriate. You did not strike out, the pitcher just failed to hit your bat with the ball. I believe we are doing far more damage to them than being honest would be, but I will leave that for the academics and researchers to analyze, for me it is just a gut feeling. It is a gut feeling that we are raising kids ill prepared for the world because no one has taught them how to take and learn from any criticism and challenge themselves to become better for it. When I was growing up, you had to make the championship game to get a trophy. Now, we have participation trophies, most improved, best attendance, and not looking at the grass trophies. Everyone gets a trophy just for showing up and not getting hit in the head with the ball. But even then I suspect there would be a “way to not die” trophy.

And now, we have participation trophies in college football. The trophy in pro and college sports are rings. National champions get rings. Conference champions get rings. Those I understand. But now, division winners are getting rings. This is where the line has been crossed into the absurd. What is next, finishing in the top half of your division rings?

Ohio State gave rings to its players this year for finishing 12-0. OSU won the “whatever the Big Ten calls its divisions” division of the Big Ten, but was ineligible to play for the conference title due to NCAA sanctions. So they are celebrating an achievement of going to 12-0, not a championship of any kind. Ok, at least they went undefeated.

Georgia won the SEC East and got rings. Georgia finished 7-1 in the SEC East, lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, and beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. But they got rings. So at the ten year reunion of this team, what exactly are they going to be celebrating? A loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. But they will have rings that show they won the SEC East. Maybe if the SEC goes to 14 one team divisions, every team can get rings.

But here is my favorite scenario, the North Carolina Tar Heels. NC finished 5-3 in the Coastal Division of the ACC in a 3 way tie with Miami and Georgia Tech. Due to both Miami and NC not being eligible for the Championship game, Georgia Tech had the honor of losing to Florida State for the ACC Championship. But North Carolina players got rings for going 5-3 in conference, 8-4 overall and not playing in a bowl game. Wear them proudly fellas!

This is absurd on so many levels. Win your conference get a ring. I get that. Not even playing in your conference championship game get a ring? Maybe I have too much pride and am way too competitive, but I would be embarrassed to wear a ring having not even played for a conference title. To me, it’s wearing a participation certificate. A celebration just for showing up. Yes, I know the players work hard, but so do the players on the teams that go 0-12. Let’s just give all players a ring when they make the team, we will fill in what it is for later. But wait, what about those that got cut. Didn’t they try to make the team? Hell, give them a ring too.