Have you considered what Olympic athletes think when they receive a gold medal for their achievements? The medal might be a token of appreciation, but it will become the reason for stories, the way to rekindle memories and proof that the best were beaten and left behind.
When you see a group of five and six-year-olds participating in their schools sports day, it is usually obvious that some children have a lot of sporting talent at this age while others are still learning how to use and coordinate their legs and hands. In these days of being politically correct, not only will winners go home with medals and trophies, but everyone will leave with a participation medal as a recognition of how hard they tried, whatever their level of success.
A trophy is a reward
Although there may be some monetary value to a trophy, it is more important that it is seen as a reward for accomplishment. The receiving of a trophy represents an element of success, whatever the level of the competition. For most people, the acceptance of the trophy is seen as recognition and approval from the competition’s governing body and this will provide motivation to people receiving the trophy as well as to those who have not met the grade yet, but hope to in the future.
While the monetary value of most trophies is irrelevant, because the item may never be sold, there are some circumstances where trophies have made a significant difference to a family after they have been sold.
Nobby Stiles would have treasured his medals from the World Cup in 1966 and the European Cup in 1968; he kept them proudly on display until recent years. However, after a period of time out of football and an illness, he considered the financial aspects of his future and decided it was better to cash in on his medals and share the money out amongst his family, rather than apportioning them in his last will and testament. How could Nobby Stiles possibly have chosen who was to receive the medals and who would not?
The size of the trophy
Although everyone would wish to receive at least a suitably sized trophy to match their achievements, the very tiny container that holds the Ashes which is competed for regularly by Australian and English cricket teams, suggests that the trophy can be equally symbolic as well as impressive.
For children as well as 40-year-old Sunday footballers, to receive a small trophy at the end of the season’s exertions is as important as the gigantic European Champions League trophy awarded to Europe’s biggest football tournament winners.
In other circumstances, receiving a high-quality trophy takes on a further significance when it can be displayed with all of the pride and legacy that is attached to the performance. A handcrafted crystal bowl, vase or jug immediately shows the value of a trophy, especially when this is compared to cheap gold painted miniature statues, where the paint will flake within a few months.
Any sports person will tell you that it is wonderful to receive a sports trophy, but the better the quality of the trophy, the easier it is to share your stories at a later stage in life.
Chris Jenkinson writes for Brierley Hill Crystal who supply beautiful crystal sports trophies.
Image: Denise Chamberlain, Phoenix Awards