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Participation Trophies Ruined Our Generation

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Millennials are whiny, bratty, hypersensitive babies. Keep in mind, I say this AS a Millennial. Obviously, not all millennials are like that, but it’s safe to make that overall generalization. A lot of us suck. Hard.

If any short sentence sums up the millennial mindset, it’s “me me me!” We’re raging narcissists who get offended way too easily. When we want something, we feel entitled to it. We demand to always be comfortable, and that the people around us should coddle us, with our delicate sensibilities and easily hurt feelings.

A prime example of this is PC culture on college campuses. We complain about microaggressions, we need trigger warnings, and we demand safe spaces. Last year, the University of New Hampshire released a bias-free language guide, which, among other ridiculous things, declared the word “American” as problematic. Last year, the Swarthmore College school newspaper publication published an article about how hating pumpkin spice lattes is “sexist.” Also last year, researchers from Idaho State University and The College of the Canyons Center and The Center For Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles concluded that we need to accept people who identify as “real vampires.” What. The. Fuck.

Obviously, these are the more extreme examples, but they’re the severe symptoms of a common and growing problem. You don’t have to go too far to find dozens of articles about how yoga is cultural appropriation and even the bizarre Tumblr-esque phenomenon of people who are “otherkin” (humans who identify as different types of animals and demand to be treated as such). The internet is bursting at the seams with delusional young people.

Several prominent comedians — most notably Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld — have talked about how they don’t perform at college campuses anymore because college crowds are too easily offended. Keep in mind, Jerry Seinfeld is the most squeaky clean comedian of all time. Who could be offended by routines about socks and toothpaste? In the past few years, we’ve seen many famous comedians make jokes that hurt people’s feelings and were cornered into apologies to save their career (Daniel Tosh, Dane Cook, Trevor Noah). They’re COMEDIANS, they tell jokes, so stop taking them so fucking seriously. The only comedian who needs to apologize to America is Bill Cosby, but obviously, that’s a whole different story.

All of this outrage culture boils to down to the millennial “me me me” mentality. We think we’re entitled to never being uncomfortable ever again. If something offends us, we’re entitled to an apology. Why is our generation like this?

My theory? Participation trophies.

We were taught that we didn’t need to work hard or have talent to earn something because no matter what we’re gonna get a pat on the head and feel like a winner. Sure, kid sports aren’t a big deal. But think about how easily impressionable we are as children. How certain philosophies get subconsciously drilled into our brains by seemingly trivial things, and stick with us forever.

When I was a kid, I was never the athletic type. I was more of the wimpy, artistic type of kid. But like any shy kid, I wanted to fit in, so I played every sport under the sun — baseball, basketball, football, floor hockey. I sucked at all of them, but I remember getting participation trophies and having a weird feeling of confusion. “Why did I win this? I suck. I lost every game.”

It was planted into our minds that we were entitled to anything we thought we deserved. We were taught that it’s okay to reward mediocrity. It’s just not participation trophies; it’s the whole culture that was built around it, a participation trophy society and mentality that shaped us.

So we get our feelings hurt easily. Anything that makes us uncomfortable gets treated like a direct attack on our mental health. And when we’re offended, we DESERVE an apology. If we want anything, we DEMAND it. Well, unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works, though some of us refuse to accept it. In our minds, our whole lives we played the game and we deserve every reward we can grab.

Once again, this doesn’t apply to all millennials. But one thing is for sure: We are fucked up. Participation trophies fucked our generation.

Image via YouTube

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Wally Bryton

TFM's most beloved writer

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