Thursday, February 23, 2006

What's Wrong With America: An In A Word Multi-part Series On The Things Americans Do To Screw Up Society

In the Massachusetts suburb of Framingham, every 5th or 6th graders who successfully completes an entire season of youth basketball will receive a trophy for participation. A trophy for participation?

Apparently, it isn't whether you win or lose; it is whether or not you show up.

The boys' lacrosse coach at Algonquin Regional High School, Dave Roche, said he supports participation trophies, but with the clear message that the reward is not for winning, but for completing a full season.

''My three kids save theirs on a shelf. I think they can be a positive thing, good for self-esteem. Receiving a participatory medal or small trophy . . . is a nice way to cap off the season. For the younger grades, kindergarten through fourth, it's a really big thing. It's a nice commemoration of a season, and gives an athlete the opportunity to look back on the season, even as they're into their adult years," he said.

In A Word has secured an exclusive interview with Timmy Johnson in future on the 20th anniversary of his amazing achievement of participation in youth basketball:

In A Word: So, Timmy here we are in the year 2026 a scant 20 years after your remarkable 2006 participation season of youth basketball. Can you give the readers a sense of what it was like to be in the middle of such a magical year of basketball?

Timmy Johnson: Well, my memory is a little hazy. Too be honest everything before my rehab in 2024 is a little vague. However, I do remember not wanting to go to my youth basketball league a few times, but my Mom ragged on me enough that I finally went. She threatened to take away my video games for the rest of the weekend if I didn't go to basketball. Whatever...

In A Word: Being that only the entire league got a trophies for showing up, do you feel a certain honor in being in such a select group?

Timmy Johnson: Well, I will say I am not sure Ryan Littlefield showed up for the entire season, so in a way that kind of taints the award for me. I mean if you are going to give out a trophy for participation it should mean something. I am not sure what it should mean, but I do know it should mean something.

In A Word: Do you still have the trophy?

Timmy Johnson: Yeah, well sort of. I had it until about 3 years ago. The little gold cup made a great shot glass. This may come as a surprise to you, but the corrosive effects of Jack Daniels actually ate away at the shiny coating. Anyway, a few years ago I got really smashed and lost the thing somewhere in my Mom's basement. Not that I care anyway...I can't believe the friggin' thing was plastic. You can imagine my surprise when I took the trophy to the pawn shop to have it appraised and the stupid pawn broker laughed at me. I will be honest with you dude, that sorta tainted my accomplishment too. I really thought my actions deserved real gold plating.

In A Word: I know many of your adoring fans would probably like an update on what you have been doing the past 20 years.

Timmy Johnson: Well, after the sixth grade I entered middle school and my life started going into a downward spiral. The teachers started expecting me to perform up their standards. And I was like "you gave me an F, but I showed up most of time." And then I was like "do you know who I am? I am the friggin' best participator in the school." I got held back a few times after my Mom was unable to convince the Principle to pass me. High school was even worse. I tried out for the varsity basketball team, but the coach said I needed more talent. I told him I would show up to every game, but he obviously was more concerned about winning than just showing up and having fun. He was totally harshing my mellow. I spent the next 10 years of life working on and off at various fast food establishments and honing my EverQuest skills. I live in my Mom's spacious basement, but I totally want to move out because she keeps harping on my to get my GED.

In A Word: Any parting thoughts or comments for our readers?

Timmy Johnson: Yeah, like I am starting my come back. I have been training and I feel like I am ready to participate in life again. I have two beads on my AA necklace and I have been working at Happy Clown Burger Shack for about 2 weeks now. If I stay on a Happy Clown for a year I get a shiny gold nametag that has my name engraved on it. Not like that crappy youth basketball league trophy that just said "participant." So, yeah I think my life is starting to turn around.

And for my fans, remember just showing up is the first step to greatness.

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