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.