Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Trouble With Trophies

"Oh yeah, life goes on . . . long after the thrill of living is gone."
- John Mellencamp, "Jack and Diane"
Tonight I watched my daughter play volleyball. It was an away match, and while I was drinking a Diet Coke between games, I noticed a remarkable trophy cabinet, not unlike trophy cabinets in just about every high school in the country. What made this one especially interesting was the age of some the pictures and trophies. The Bulldogs apparently took second place in the local tournament in February, 1933. Another basketball team managed to win a Big Three Tournament in 1929, bringing home the first place trophy with engraving that is now barely legible.

I did a little math and calculated that those who played on that championship team would be 95 to 99 years old, if they are still alive today. Wow. Do you suppose any of those old-timers are still sitting around the nursing home, telling anyone who can hear them all about the big game, the clutch free throw, the final basket at the buzzer?

It's an honor to be remembered, but even our most cherished moments, even our engraved victories, even our noblest accomplishments seem to fade with the passing of time. But still we hang on, longing to leave some kind of legacy, something that will remain after we are gone.

As I recall, the only trophy that I ever received was for winning 1st place in the 9 year old Punt, Pass, and Kick contest in our little town. In one of our moves, my little trophy mysteriously disappeared. Suzanne had no explanation. I checked the Hall of Fame in Canton - it's not there. And, I have searched the Smithsonian. It's not there either. So, my accomplishments, my glory days, have faded into obscurity. Oh well. Life goes on . . .

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