I'm going to have to require everyone to shut up about participation trophies. First, not everyone under the age of 30 was in a youth soccer league- possibly due to the parents not being able to afford to let their kids participate. And really, who is giving out the trophies? I know the 6 year olds aren't going "Man, I'd play soccer, but I won't get a participation trophy at the end". It's the grown ups not telling their children that they suck at soccer, are failures, and should not even go out on the pitch with such noncompetitive soccer skills. Also, that life sucks, and then you die. Let's get real here. The 6 year olds know who is good at soccer, people. They know who scored the game winning goal , and who couldn't kick the ball if his or her life depended on it.
I think the real cause for their ire is the idea that young folks are enjoying themselves with no whiff of Calvinist dog eat dog. Everyone gets to eat pizza and have a party- the worst player and the best player. There's an equality in that that people who feel that everything is a hierarchy can't understand as anything else but character destroying. But the truth is that most of us won't be the best at anything. And those who can be the best- they love the thing enough to go through the hard parts without external reward. I think people do their best when work becomes real to them. When they feel their efforts are of use. Without meaning to work, people flounder, and with young people, it's easy to say that we lack some essential verve because we're 'soft'. But, maybe people want to bring great customer service to people instead of annoying them with credit card offers. Maybe people want to help children blossom not teach state performance indicators or worry about a child's wellness reducing cash flow. Maybe people want to be able to take pride in their work, and then only way to create pride is to create work that matters. I guess it's easier to complain about trophies.