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I’m a trophy wife living amongst faux-gold regalia. Baseball, piano, soccer, and dance trophies crowd my shelves, desks and armoires.  How did I end up surrounded by so many bastardized Oscars?

Ummmmm … four kids?

None are future Olympians, mind you, but they all participate in afterschool activities. And

without fail, after the end of every activity, there is a pot of trophies. I tell my dear children that there is no need for all these silhouettes. I suggest tossing a few (most! all?) out. My husband thinks I’m being cruel. My children growl.

Blame the proliferation of plastic gold on the cultural zeitgeist that every kid needs to be validated:  Just picking up a bat makes you worthy of a victory statuette. If you can dribble, you should be decorated. Dive in a pool? You pulled a plaque.

While I agree with some scholars that this behavior raises a tribe of bubble-brained children, my rebuffing of the gilded menagerie has more to do with where the trophies end up. In some landfill somewhere far off--Bangladesh perhaps?--where other kids are stitching your kids’ soccer balls and ballet flats.

Thankfully, there are companies like that have capitalized on this shared sentiment and offered recycling services. Ship them your trophies in good condition and they will either refurbish and resell or donate to non-profits. Local charities often look for used trophies too. I’m in the process of finding foster homes for about twelve trophies.

“I don’t understand why you are so against them,” says my husband. “They won them.”

“No, they didn’t,” I respond.

It’s not that I don’t like an occasional Emmy, I’m just not into the garden variety trophy hailing from Oriental Trading. It’s like being a vegetarian. Some do it to be cool, but don't always follow the rules. Some don’t like the taste of meat, so they refrain. Others can’t even look at meat. It’s animal cruelty. For me, trophies are environmental cruelty.

Where to exhibit these mutating dust magnets? It’s more crap to clean. I don’t even clean my own kids anymore.

Here’s a novel idea: If sports leagues (and dance studios, karate dojos and mathnasiums) want to give out a participation prize … how about gifting that lady who ensures teams and classes across America remain filled? Isn’t her participation the most important? A bottle of merlot would not be a bad idea. Now that’s a trophy a wife and mom will gladly bring home, consume and recycle.


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