Following his team's loss to Maryland last Thursday night, Louisville head women's basketball coach Jeff Walz turned his postgame press conference into a soapbox. He was none too pleased with his squad's effort, which evidently reminded him of a phenomenon that's been eating at him for quite some time. In his view, too many Millennials are 'soft,' thanks to America's increasingly-prevalent "everyone's a winner" attitude toward competition among kids. The real world is far less forgiving, he warned, unleashing a composed but forceful tirade that quickly went viral. Take it away, coach. Unburden yourself:
"Right now, the generation of kids that are coming through, everybody gets a damn trophy, okay? You finish last, you come home with a trophy. You kidding me? What's that teaching kids? It's okay to lose! And unfortunately, it's our society. It's what we're building for. And it's not just in basketball, it's in life. Everybody thinks they should get a job. Everybody thinks they should get a good job. No, that's not the way it works. But unfortunately, that's what we are preparing for. Because you finish fifth, you walk home with this nice trophy, parents are all excited? No. I mean, not to be too blunt, but you're a loser. Like, we're losers, we got beat. So you lost. There is no trophy for us."
Some of Walz's critics have alleged that he's trying to pawn off a loss for which he is ultimately responsible onto an entire generation, but if you watch the clip, that's not his message. He owns the loss -- which, we should add, came at the hands of a group of players from the very same generation he's lighting up. Also, the implicit but obvious subtext of his comments is directed at Boomers, who've raised Millennials with the 'participation trophy' sense of entitlement he abhors. Similarly, the Pittsburgh Steelers' James Harris made waves last year when he very publicly stripped his kids of non-winning athletics trophies:
I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues
Fox News host Megyn Kelly espouses a similar approach to parenting in her new book, Settle For More, in which she describes how one of the greatest gifts her parents bestowed to her was not telling her she was "special." She says she recently threw one of her own children's participation trophies in the garbage to help drive home this message for the next generation in her family. Perhaps 'snowflake' culture is starting to melt -- or at least thaw? In fairness to Coach Walz's players, even some fully-grown adults still struggle with grappling with the difficult reality of a painful defeat. Isn't that right, Jennifer and friends?