NFL linebacker James Harrison has confiscated his sons' peewee football league participation trophies.
He opposes the idea that someone should be recognized for just showing up.
In Harrison's estimation, special acknowledgment should only be earned for being the best.
Perhaps the winner indeed deserves a larger trophy.
But shouldn't those that just show up be extended some kind of tangible token of encouragement or appreciation?
After all, if the discouraged did not show up, would the league exist long enough to lavish accolades upon the victors?
As justification for his hardline parenting, Harrison invokes his own struggles to achieve success.
According to news reports of this story, he played for a season in NFL Europe and was cut from the Baltimore Ravens before rising to prominence as a Pittsburgh Steeler.
But even when his performance was less than excellent, did not Harrison receive payment for services rendered?
So why can't a participation trophy be thought of in that particular light?
James Harrison apparently has what it takes to rise to the pinnacle of the athletic world.
However, it seems he has not yet reached the level of balance necessary for similar accomplishments in the field of parenting.
Had he allowed his sons to retain the participation trophies, these would have eventually been set aside as at best fondly remembered mementos of childhood.
However, snatched as these now have been, the entire incident will likely become one of those festering resentments that these children will struggle with well into adulthood.
By Frederick Meekins