“Participation” Trophies Find New Life in Freedonian Infrastructure

Image result for primitive dam

DZIEWSKZY, Freedonia.  Norgrebskz “Norgo” Vzlatz is construction manager at the site of the new 880-volt hydroelectric dam being built on the Vleebek River here, but this morning he’s casting an gimlet eye not at a truckload of concrete, but at a girl’s soccer trophy for the 2008 fall season from Wellesley, Mass.  “Uphams Square,” he says with a nod of approval to his foreman, Orkz Numavlasik.  “It is the premier elementary school team in a powerhouse conference–we’ll take as many as we can get.”

Image result for primitive dam
“Get me a ton of Mini-Mites Hockey trophies–STAT!”


With that, he dispatches his deputy to make a phone call half a world away to the incoming president of the parent-teacher organization at the school in question.  “We’ll take all you’ve got,” Numavlasik says to Emily Bierman.  “These are the absolute gitz,” he adds, using a vernacular term that refers to an impressively large set of mammary glands on a milk cow.

“I am so glad to hear that!” Bierman says with a mixture of relief and condescension.  “It’s good for our kids to know that they’re helping in some small way to make your miserable part of the world a better place.”

Image result for charity ball
2019 Freedonian Infrastructure Hope Chest Gala


The Uphams Square School, along with other elementary and middle schools across the country, are turning a looming crisis into a charitable-giving opportunity; what to do with all the trophies their students have acquired over the years for merely showing up at soccer, hockey, T-ball and other athletic events to drink bottled water and get cheered on by their parents?  Ship it to Freedonia, where funding gaps in major infrastructure projects often cause the government to turn to scrap metal and leftover tuna noodle casserole from “first world” countries.

Image result for t ball trophies
“Dad look–I got a trophy for hitting a ball off a tee!”


“There is no market for this junk in the U.S.,” says Abercrombie Scrap & Salvage Owner Mike Schultzer.  “They contain toxic materials and–to be quite frank–will only cause the kids severe psychological problems when they have to enter the real world.”

Commemorative sports tchotchkes made of plastic and metal are awarded to children in the United States in an effort to bolster their self-esteem, a deficiency that is not considered a problem in less-developed countries.  “If my kids don’t perform, they know I will send them to harvest krzemholz,” says Vlaztz, referring to a root vegetable that is a staple of the Freedonian diet.  “If they don’t come back with enough, we threaten to throw them into the pot–for some reason that motivates them.”

Image result for kids playing soccer in third world
“Someday I dream of playing in the suburbs for trophies!”


As the girls from the 2008 Kinderkick season head off to college this fall, the participation trophy crisis hit home for mothers such as Chloe Finster, whose daughter Molly will attend Northwestern University.  “I am completely out of room for my sweaters, I need Molly’s space,” she says as she hauls a cardboard box filled with lacrosse, swimming and volleyball trophies out to her car.  “It’s so crowded in my closet I was afraid I’d never be able to go shopping again.”

Share this Post: