Trophy is more than a prize

July 12, 2012|Lisa Prejean

A stack of trophies sat beside a few bags of trash waiting for roadside pickup. As I drove by the house in our neighborhood, the sight filled me with mixed emotions.

I felt a kindred spirit with the owner. There comes a point where the memories of yesterday become the clutter of today. Yes, we want to remember those shining moments. We don't want to throw away trophies that were so valiantly won, but is the trophy really evidence of the prize? Or is the prize really evidenced in the trophy?

Those thoughts were once again close at hand when my daughter recently cleaned her room. She asked for a tub to store some of her belongings.

After she was done, we were asked to come in and take a look.

Much to my surprise, most of her trophies were gone. They were neatly packed away for storage.

"They were just too big and bulky," she said, admiring the clean and clear space on her dresser.

In a few years when she has a place of her own, that storage tub will find its way from our basement to hers, much like the box of her father's trophies found its way from his mother's storage shed to our basement.

There the box sits. Still. His collection of trophies is not too far from the shelf containing my box of trophies, which also made its way from my parents' house to our house.

Will those boxes ever be unpacked? Maybe. Do our kids want our trophies? Probably not.

Would they like to see a photo of us in a trophy-deserving performance along with a story about the day? Yes, I think they would. They like hearing about the experiences we had when we were their age.

Don't we all like the human-interest, personal side of an event? Whether it's a Little League championship or the World Series, the real story is about the people involved, not about who wins or loses. (The sports guys will eventually forgive me for writing that ....)

That's why reporters covering the Olympics don't just concentrate on the competition but how the athletes arrived at this point in their careers.

We already know the athletes have exceptional abilities, but is there anything unusual about their families, their interests, their health?

Going beyond the trophy is how we connect with each other.

That connection is worth much more than any prize.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at

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