Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Medals versus T-shirts

There's a fine tradition in this country of issuing goody bags after a sporting endeavour, almost (in some cases, at least) as an apology for the outrageously expensive entry fee.

Having completed a triathlon yesterday, I received one such goody bag containing a few items of sports snackery, several adverts for equally-costly future events and a T-shirt.

On arrival back at the Ranch the Sparkly One congratulated me and asked if I had received a medal (the Sparkly One has a lot of medals, on account of being the very best at what she does, and competing in events that reward brilliance with medals).

I did not have a medal. I checked the bag. There was no medal. Dark clouds of disappointment loomed on my personal emotion horizon.

Then I found the T-shirt in the bag, proclaiming me to be a Finisher. Disappointment was immediately replaced by the sunshine of joy. Yay me!

This exchange and discovery prompted me to ponder the relative benefits of T-shirt and medal.

In favour of a T-shirt:

  • Can be worn on any number of occasions after the actual event (it's generally frowned upon to wear a medal day to day, unless one is in the armed services)
  • A practical item, useful.

In favour of a medal:

  • Something a bit special, not something one would buy oneself
  • Does not need laundering after wearing
  • Looks nice hanging from the curtain pole
  • An indulgent item, a frippery

I think that although I would prefer a medal, I would get more mileage out of a T-shirt. A medal is associated with that whole challenge-reward thing; a T-shirt is every day.

A final thought: the word "goody" should be eradicated from the language with extreme prejudice and immediate effect.

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