What to Do with Those Athletic Awards
It looks like I won’t be wearing my “Tressel for President” t-shirt anytime soon.
Nor will I be dressing up as Tressel for Halloween like I did last year (and I feel particularly bad about that because it’s such an easy costume and I pretty much hate dressing up in costumes).
And there is absolutely nothing I can say about the situation that hasn’t already been endlessly covered by all the talking heads on ESPN and the writing heads at SI. Except maybe, “Senator, say it ain’t so.” But I know it is, and it will be a while before the storm clouds lift over my alma mater.
In the meantime, high schools all over the country will be holding their end-of-the-year sports awards ceremonies this month. Often more highly attended than the academic awards ceremonies, the sports event is usually held in the evening and, if you’re not careful, can go on for hours, culminating with the awards for the outstanding male and female athletes. Choosing the outstanding athletes usually isn’t hard unless your outstanding female athlete eliminates herself from receiving the award by getting drunk and throwing up at the prom the week before so you have to give the award to a player that everyone knows is only getting the award because she wasn’t at the pre-prom party.
Sports awards, the plaques and letters and all those other trinkets, are expensive, and you have to wonder if they are worth the 10-second hand off from coach to player at the ceremony. You also have to wonder what happens to them later. Are they hung on the wall or shoved under the bed or in a closet somewhere? Does the artifact matter most to the student or to her parents? Clearly, in the case of some of the OSU football players, their championship rings could be sold without regret. And those cool gold trinkets – the little football pants they got for beating Michigan – could be exchanged for awesome tats.
So a tiny take away for us K-12 folks may be this: A handshake, a paper certificate, and a “Good job” may be all you need to give our student athletes. Maybe the buckeye clusters on their helmets were all the college players needed too.