Participation trophies will forever be the most degrading tokens of childhood.
No-place science fair contestants walked away with them and little league “athletes” expected them.
It did not matter if the kid’s lava mountain spewed or if his Capri Sun consumption on the bench outweighed his game minutes. At the end of the meet or season, the whole lot was awarded blue ribbons, pity prizes or commissary mementos.
But as I wrote a few weeks ago, competition means only one team wins the gold.
And as competition intends, the annual Primetime Emmy awards were established to award excellence in primetime television, and for only one “team” to win gold.
But this year’s 65th awards’ show stood to correct me and I demand a distribution of participation trophies.
From the announcement of the nominees, the awards show was doomed to be a heartbreaker. On Sunday night, rows upon rows of respected actors and actresses were gathered to vie for the 26 gold statues.
“No one in America is winning their Emmy office pool,” host Neil Patrick declared during the night. “Surprises galore.”
Many of this year’s categories had no one frontrunner or clear favorite. Even I found myself acting as a mother trying to choose a favorite child.
But at the end of the night, I was still disappointed as “Mad Men”, “Game of Thrones”, “Downton Abbey”, Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Michelle Dockery, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Jim Carter, Peter Dinklage, Aaron Paul and Maggie Smith walked away as “runner-ups” in their nominated categories with no silver medals to show.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, competition creates a concrete partition between winners and losers.
The winners of this year’s Emmy’s were undoubtedly deserving of top honors. Yet, I still feel the Emmy’s “losers” deserved more than the intangible honors of being named a nominee.
Perhaps I have been raised in a culture that feels the need to compensate losing with some lesser degree of winning. Perhaps I’m trying to redeem boxes of my own undeserving, consolation ribbons. Or perhaps I just watch too much television.
But for the “losers” of this year’s Emmy Awards, I’m calling it a deadlocked tie, with shared victories and participation trophies all around.