6-year-old Quitter Receives Participation Trophy

By Fenwick Jolsen

Published January 5th, 2015

ROTTERDAM — Capital Region “Tough Love” advocates are up in arms over reports that a Rotterdam child who quit his soccer team was still given a participation trophy at the end of the season.

Tory Nelson, 6, who despite quitting after two games because he “didn’t feel like running” and thinks “soccer is dumb,” was invited to the town recreation league’s closing day ceremonies by his former coach Marci Nutt, who is also the mom of Tory’s best friend, Tyler.

“Just because Tory quit doesn’t mean he’s not part of the team,” said Nutt. “Sports are not about winning or losing or competing. They are about making our kids feel good about themselves, even if they are losers, babies or quitters.”

But Jim Cleaver, whose father was “old school” and often gave Cleaver “something to cry about,” said the league’s decision to reward a quitter sends the wrong message.

“What the hell is going on?” Cleaver said. “I swear, we’re turning our kids into spoiled little pussies. That kid doesn’t deserve a trophy. He deserves to be knocked straight on his ass.”

Neil Tobin, a professor of child psychology at SUNY Albany, said it is important that children are told repeatedly that they are great all the time — even when they act like jackasses.

“A child’s self-esteem is like an egg shell,” said Tobin. “And we as adults must be careful not to crack it.”

Upon hearing Tobin’s statement, Cleaver shook his head and said, “My God, that guy’s a pussy, too.”

Tory, who since quitting soccer has gained 23 pounds and now plays X-Box Live 15 hours a day, wasn’t phased by Cleaver’s criticism.

“I deserve a trophy,” Tory said. “Now go get me a cookie and a juice box.”


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