It just seems like all the positive stuff about sports has nothing to do with trophies.
Like, I'm not in favor of participation trophies, but I'm also not a fan of first place trophies. I'm just not big on trophies. I feel like that's sort of taking away from what games should be, which is, well, all that non-material goodness.
If I was in favor of trophies, though, it's almost like the participation trophies make more sense? Because I don't care about who wins. I care about people being involved, doing their best, and having some fun.
If you've shown up, are playing for fun, and getting some exercise while you're at it, congratulations, you've done the things I consider most praiseworthy!
I'm not giving everyone a trophy for that, though.
Ye gods, the cost of materials alone...!
I also find the idea of a trophy for doing well as a life lesson kind of odd. Like, it sounds good on paper:
Work hard, do well, get rewarded.
But the actual reward for winning was having something satisfying to work towards, self-improvement, achieving a goal, etc. That's a way better life lesson that "you'll get a trophy", especially since the reality is way more often that you won't.