Not Everyone is a Winner 


After a long weekend of umpiring peewee girls’ softball, I noticed something questionable at the end of the tournament. Regardless of placement, each girl on every team received a trophy. Even the girls on the team in last place squealed with excitement. This latest trend in youth sports creates a dangerous mentality among children: no matter what I do, I will get rewarded. This trending mentality can cause negative effects on kids in the long run. Not everyone is a winner in the real world. If kids receive participation trophies throughout their youth, kids will expect rewards to be given to them as adults for doing the bare minimum and become less productive citizens.

The conflict of whether or not should children receive participation trophies has become more popular over the past few years. The media began to recognize the issue when Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison brought it to the public’s attention in August of 2015. Harrison’s six year-old and eight year-old sons each received participation trophies at the end of a sports season like many kids. “I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned,” he captioned a photo on social media of the trophies, “And I’m not about to raise two boys to men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best… because sometimes your best is not enough.” Harrison’s firm viewpoint gained a tremendous amount of support. Former NFL Super Bowl champ Kurt Warner agreed with Harrison and went a step further by saying kids do not pass class for just showing up (Wallace, 2015, p. 1). Co-author of “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing” Ashley Merryman (2015) worries if children are told how wonderful they are no matter what they do or do not accomplish, these young athletes are more likely to be narcissistic. A study in 2015 found that children whose parents overpraised them were more prone to develop narcissistic traits. Traits such as superiority and entitlement are two qualities which are not necessarily going to benefit kids when the going gets tough. Participation trophies do not give kids room to make mistakes nor learn from their mistakes (Wallace, 2015, p. 2). A poll released recently found 57 percent of respondents were against participation trophies. The vast majority of the remaining 43 percent were wealthier and more politically conservative respondents (Melamed, 2015, p. 1). Jean Twenge (2015), a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, claims:

“All of the research converges on that the best way to motivate kids is to reward them for good performance and when they’re little, for effort as well. The problem with a participation trophy is it doesn’t even reward effort. It rewards showing up, and in some leagues, apparently you don’t even need to show up. That’s really sending the wrong message.”

She also believes the kids on a steady diet of participation trophies will grow anxious and depressed at record levels (Melamed, 2015, p. 2).

When children are small, encouraging them to play and rewarding their performance with a participation trophy is not always a bad idea, but participation trophies are not helpful after a certain age. Kids need to understand everyone is not created equally. Recreation sports are about learning skills and life lessons. Being showered with trophies, no matter the outcome of a game, defeats the original intent of the sport (Diaz, 2015). Some leagues have even taken the next step by setting a participation trophy age cut off. Initially, kids love awards and trophies, but as they get older, they want to earn a trophy (Melamed, 2015, p. 2). The New York Times (2015) reports trophy and award sells total to about $3 billion yearly in the United States. Sadly, sports for kids is not a healthy part of growing up anymore. In handing children participation trophies, they are being taught little or no effort is more than good enough. The children who accept this mentality are being set up for failure, and they are the children who will be less productive citizens when grown.

Others, however, see the argument over participation trophies unnecessary. A common argument for the participation trophy claims the trophy acknowledges the time and effort the child puts forth. Also, the child receives a memento of the experience (Wallace, 2015, p. 1). When kids are young, it is important to build self esteem. They have the rest of their lives to deal with rejection, but I believe kids should learn early on the world does not hand out trophies. Under New Jersey soccer rules, you cannot keep score for kids younger than eleven. Barry Fitzgerald, assistant commissioner of Marlton Soccer in New Jersey, claims it is important for the kids to feel good about themselves. Participation trophies to some is viewed simply as a job well done. The child made it through the season. Although the players are on different levels, they went through the same training, so they should be recognized (Melamed, 2015, p. 2). Parent Anne Harney said her son has not received a participation trophy since he was three. She was surprised to find every participant is given a ‘grown up’participation medal at the end of each race she runs. It was even more surprising to her when the adults were more enthusiastic about them than the young athletes. Everyone received the same medal whether it took him 45 minutes or several hours to complete the race (Melamed, 2015, p. 3).

As a student athlete, I know the feeling of loss and disappointment, but that feeling makes me strive harder to become better. When my team loses, I work even harder, so next time I will be prepared and not lose. When my grade is not as good as it should be, I study harder, so the next time I will improve. Being congratulated for losing a game seems wrong, but that is the mentality children are being taught today. If children do not accept their losses, there is no room for improvement. If there is no room for improvement, children will accept failure and think it is okay.
Abigail Myers


Diaz, G. (2015, August 20). George Diaz: Kids don’t deserve participation trophies, medals for showing up. Orlando Sentinel, The (FL).

Kelly Wallace, C. (2015, August 18). Does sports participation deserve a trophy? Let the parental debate begin!. CNN Wire.

Melamed, S. (2015, August 19). To give or not to give participation trophies. Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA).

Black girl?

I feel like Fannie Lou. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. You want to know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of being labeled as ‘ not your average black girl’. What is the average black girl? Why do I have to be mixed with something to have good hair? Like the average black girl can’t have good hair. Well, that’s because I’m not society’s average black girl. Or am I not the average black girl because I talk boldly and walk with confidence? Is it because your definition of the average black girl is one who doesn’t pronounce all of her words, and she’s considered loud and ghetto?
What is the average black girl? The black girl who straightens her hair good, but her good is not ‘good enough’? Am I not it because my hair is not afrogenic enough and kinky enough, but straightened and tamed? Hair styles intimidate you?
Oh no, maybe I’m not the average black girl because I have just a little attitude, but not as much as the other black girls you call rude. You know…. like the black girl over there who has to face society alone and be tough? You don’t know her struggle. Maybe her struggle is different than mine.
So tell me what is the average black girl? Luckily for me, I get a pass because the men in my house pants don’t sag. Or is it because I’m not the teenage black girl you see carrying a baby that might or might not be hers, but you wouldn’t know because you don’t ask?
Again, what is the average black girl? Am I not black enough? Or should I say dark enough, yet still not light enough to be white either? In your perspective, the average black girl can’t even get an academic scholarship because she’s only good for sports; last time I checked Michelle Obama made it without support.
What is the average black girl again?
Let me tell you, this so called ‘non’ average black girl is tired of being put in stereotypical categories. What am I? I am educated, confident, and classy. Just like any black girl can be. Just because my hair is not afro styled and free does not mean the next black girl who does is any less than me. Your definition of ‘the average black girl’ has the potential to be anything she wants to be. And just because she’s not your skin complexion and has long European hair doesn’t mean she’s different. What is a Hispanic girl? What is an Asian girl? What is a white girl? What is a black girl?
Why can’t I just be Feria?
Written by Feria Mays

March 24, 2017

The Mandela Effect 

Mandela Effect

by: Hayden  Mitchell

We have all had moments of forgetfulness. Moments where we are certain of something happening or being a certain way, but it is not. What happens when a mass of people have the same memory of something, but that something is not real? There is a term for this mass memory misconception: the Mandela Effect. The Mandela Effect is a term coined by self-described “paranorma consultant” Fiona Broome (Emery 1). The Mandela Effect is believed by Broome and her followers to be when “memories [are] out of sync with recorded history occur because our minds get entangled with alternate universes” (Ludden 2). There are many instances of the Mandela Effect which have baffled and intrigued millions.

The name Mandela Effect comes from the death of Nelson Mandela, the first noted mass memory mistake. Multitudes of people specifically remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in 1991. The book English Alive states that Nelson Mandela died on July 23, 1991. This book was published on October 1, 1991, years before the now documented death in 2013 (Heugh 54). More than likely, information such as this would not be published incorrectly. This could be a coincidence or a misprint, but it does seem a little odd.

The most popular and common instance of the Mandela Effect that has generated the most online buzz is of a beloved children’s book and television series characters know to the world as the Barenstain Bears (Emery 3). The Berenstain Bears was an extremely popular children’s series, encompassing over 100 books and TV episodes. With this being such a vast and renowned series, many people read and enjoyed it, but did they all read the name wrong the entire time? Many of the people who enjoyed this series remember the title as the Berenstein Bears with an ‘e’ towards the end. I personally enjoyed this series regularly, and I remember it as Berenstein Bears. However, if a person were to look back on these books, the title would say Berenstain Bears with an ‘a’ towards the end. How can so many have misread the title of such a beloved book? It seems impossible.

The next example of the Mandela Effect involves another beloved children’s character, a silly monkey named Curious George. Curious George was and still is a favorite among children around the world, but did we all fabricate a tail onto his body? Curious George, if a person were to look at him now, is a cute, cartoon monkey… with no tail. Many people remember Curious George with a tail. Youtube star, Shane Dawson, recalls owning a Curious George stuffed animal and swinging it by its tail (“Conspiracy Theory”) ,but when he Googled ‘Curious George’, he found the same stuffed animal but without a tail.

One of my favorite examples of the Mandela Effect is from my favorite childhood movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Most of my peers have seen this movie, and we all remember the famous scene where the Wicked Witch speaks to her enchanted mirror. Most people remember the Wicked Witch saying, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” I remember it like that, but looking back on the clip, the Wicked Witch says, “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” (La Verne). As an avid Disney fan, I have seen this movie more times than I can count, but I do not remember the famous line as “Magic mirror…” until now. It could be summed up to childhood whimsy and misconceptions, but it seems strange, does it not?

There is a popular air freshener brand many people in the United States use. Many people remember this air freshener being named Febreeze, but all of those people are incorrect. If a person were to go to the store and pick up a bottle of this air freshener, the label would say Febreze with one ‘e’. I brought this up to many people, including the administration at my school, and everyone remembers it as ‘Febreeze’. This phenomenon could be accounted for by the pronunciation of Febreze, but how is it so many people specifically remember the labels and commercials spelling it as ‘Febreeze’?

Everyone who has heard of the Mandela Effect speculates whether or not it is real, and that is exactly what this is: speculation. Nothing I have said in this paper has been proven or disproven, it is all theories and personal accounts from people who believe they have experienced the Mandela Effect.

The Mandela Effect is something that confuses millions. We are made up of a collection of memories, and it is hard for us to believe these memories could be wrong. There is some ‘proof’ of the Mandela Effect out there, but whether one chooses to believe it or not is up to him. There are strange things in this universe we have yet to explain, so maybe there is a possibility of alternate universes. Maybe there are shifts in the time-space-continuum, or maybe humans are simply flawed creatures. Maybe our brains make up things without us realizing, and we choose to believe it. No matter the case, the Mandela Effect is an extremely interesting topic. Maybe one day, we will find out the truth.

Works Cited

“Conspiracy Theory- The Mandela Effect.” YouTube, uploaded by Shane Dawson, 30 Aug. 2016, Accessed 18 Oct. 2016.

Emery, David. “The Mandela Effect.”, 7 July 2016, the-mandela-effect/. Accessed 4 Oct. 2016.

Heugh, Kathleen, and Anita Kennet. English Alive 1990, writings from High Schools in Southern

Africa. Claremont: Western Cape Branch of the South African Council for English Education,1991.

La Verne, Lucille, performer. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney, 1937.

Ludden, David, Ph.D. “Ben Carson and the Mandela Effect.” Psychology Today, 9 Nov. 2015, Accessed 4 Oct. 2016.