Posts Tagged ‘Awards’

Awards

January 15, 2018

Awards are a funny thing. I am (barely) a millennial so I grew up in a generation that received participation awards. I received several of these awards for soccer and baseball leagues. They all had flimsy plastic tops and heavy marble bases. These awards are much derided these days as having made millennials weak as the opinion is that they celebrate mediocrity. Awards should be for winners, not for also-rans or so they say. I can only speak for myself but I am completely aware what those trophies meant. They were meant “thank you for not quitting and going off to do something else” because for me that was not only a possibility but it was a desire of mine. I knew I was never going to win an actual trophy for those sports because I did not want to. I did not want to play but I appreciate my parents guiding me into it because I felt the achievement when a season was over.

I never had any delusions of grandeur caused by getting a little plastic trophy. I do not think that any of my friends did either. I knew when I had performed well at something back then and I still do. I knew when I whiffed another at-bat that I was not an athlete. When I actually caught a ball at third base, I knew that I had achieved a miracle. I have humility when it comes to life. I know my limitations and I know when I am not interested in something enough to even try to excel at it. Sports was never part of the plan like it was for some of the friends that I grew apart from over the years in school. I was a nerd and an artist and I lived the life of the mind not the body. Still, I admired the people who did well in sports because they were truly succeeding at something. Of course, that did not stop me from deriding people who were so interested in sportsball.

In Middle School and High School, I wrestled. It was the first sport (other than archery) that I remember really enjoying. It was a solo sport where it is just you against your opponent like a high impact game of chess. I also liked it because with a little bit of practice, I was actually winning quite a few of my matches. Winning at sports without being carried made me feel good but, as with most sports, I eventually lost interest. When I eventually started losing more and more, I lost interest. I was facing guys who probably got up in the morning and trained before school while I could barely be bothered to attend practice after school.

I vividly remember what I call my retirement match. I went to a tournament (the name of which I forget) where there were only three people in my weight class. Because of this, I was guaranteed a third-place medal. I could practically feel my interest fading away as I was guaranteed an award. When it came time for my first round match, I walked out to the middle of the ring and faced somebody obviously in better shape. The guy looked at me and actually growled, an obvious intimidation tactic. Instead of being intimidated, I literally laughed in his face with glee. The match began and he and I struggled against each other. I did not just throw the match but the guy was obviously better than me and, in the end, he handed me my ass. He earned it and he deserved it because he was taking it seriously. Maybe too seriously but it is not my place to judge that.

In High School, I spent most of my time working in theater. I joined the Stage Crew in my Freshman year and I had a lot of fun and I worked my butt off. I volunteered to run the lights and then I started to learn how to actually hang and design lights. I started working in community theater in the Fells Point area, an experience which taught me a lot about theater design and production. I brought that knowledge back with me when I eventually became the co-head and then the head of Stage Crew at school. I started to design lights and I eventually volunteered to set up the audio for events in the auditorium. I spent a lot of time building sets and making sure that everything came together for various productions. When I received an award at graduation, I knew that I deserved it for all of the sacrifices behind the scenes. I worked hard but I still tried to say that the award was no big deal even though I was privately thrilled.

The same thing happened early in 2017 when I graduated from CCBC with a paralegal certificate. I had dabbled in paralegal work and it was clear that it was both fun and it came easily to me. I had found something that I was good at and enjoyed so it was back to school to learn about my newly chosen field. I worked my butt off at school. I took classes seriously and I turned everything in on time or early. I attended every class and I absorbed everything thrown at me. So, when I graduated with a high GPA, I felt satisfied and excited to get out in the field I am currently enjoying. When I received an e-mail that the school wanted to give me a Lamda Epsilon Chi award, I initially dismissed it. I thought that it was something everybody got like a participation trophy. When I arrived at the ceremony, there were only five or six people there getting the award. I was honored because I know when an award is sincere.


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