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The Stanley Cup. The Lombardi Trophy. Olympic gold. Some sports trophies and awards are iconic and venerated, physically beautiful and invested with meaning.
Then there's the other stuff.
Earlier this year, Page 2 sought your nominations for the lamest banners in sports. You responded. The world was a better place. And now?
We're back, and we're looking for the lamest trophies.
Think unnecessary trophies. Trophies you can't believe are real. Trophies that embody pride in accomplishments that don't quite deserve tangible memorials. Think awards that feel bogus, given not simply to commemorate victory, but also to promote something totally unrelated by glomming on to success. Think trophies that are given out primarily because somebody somewhere wanted to do so. Think awards that look cheap, underwhelming, patently ridiculous to the eye.
What qualifies as lame? It's a lot like the Supreme Court's classic definition of obscenity. You know it when you see it.
If you'd like to nominate something, click here. We'll choose and rate your nominees in a subsequent article.
In the meantime, check out the following lame trophies, which we offer as an imagination-whetting public service:
Given to: The winner of the annual professional football -- note: term used loosely -- preseason game between Detroit and Cleveland.
Lameness quotient: Stratospheric. Handing out a trophy for victory in an NFL preseason game is like giving a swimmer an Olympic medal -- made of tin -- for having a really fast practice session a week before the Games begin. Besides, the trophy depicts a floating barge, hardly an appropriate physical metaphor for the state of the Lions and Browns franchises.
Fun fact(s): The Great Lakes Classic has its own unofficial theme song. Contrary to its smooth, dark, rich and creamy appearance, trophy is not actually made of chocolate.
Given to: The winner of the annual college football game between Iowa State and Missouri.
Lameness quotient: Moderately high. Far be it from Page 2 to besmirch the passion, intensity and sheer human drama that is the Iowa State-Missouri rivalry: houses divided, brother against brother, a blood feud between programs that occasionally crack the Top 25. No, our issue is with the story behind the trophy: in 1959, a pregame phone wiring mix-up meant that each team could hear the other squad's coaching box-to-sideline communication. The problem was solved before kickoff, yet Northwestern Bell somehow decided to commemorate a minor technical glitch with non-minor hardware. Were the '50s really that boring?
Fun fact(s): Missouri football also competes for the Victory Bell (against Nebraska), the Peace Pipe (against Oklahoma), the Indian War Drum (against Kansas), the Lamar Hunt Trophy (also against Kansas) and the BCS National Championship trophy (just kidding).
Given to: The world's sportsman, sportswoman, team, breakthrough and comeback of the year.
Lameness quotient: High. As a sort of international sports quasi-Oscars, the Laureus Awards are voted on and bestowed by a panel of top athletes, and seem to exist largely for the same reason things such as the Golden Globes exist: because wealthy, successful people aren't celebrated enough. Also, it doesn't help that the trophy itself looks like the logo for every generic regional gym chain and/or self-help seminar ever.
Fun fact(s): The Boston Red Sox won the 2005 Laureus "Spirit of Sport" trophy, an award later won by former World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound. Oh, irony, will you ever cease to amaze and delight?
Given to: The winner of the Dallas-Houston professional football game.
Lameness quotient: Observation deck of the Sears Tower. We could tell you that the trophy was born not out of any long-standing on-field enmity, but out of a lawsuit: specifically, when the AFL's Oilers sued the NFL's Cowboys for drafting the same player in 1965, and the Cowboys agreed to play five preseason games as part of a settlement. We could tell you that the teams met twice in the 1992 preseason -- once in Tokyo! -- but that only the second meeting in Dallas was for the non-coveted Cup. We could tell you that when the Oilers bolted for Tennessee in 1997, the trophy could have been retired for good ... except it was brought out of mothballs when the Houston Texans began play in 2002. We could tell you that the Governor's Cup now only changes hands during preseason games -- the trophy wasn't contested at the recent regular-season game between the two teams. Alternately, we could just state that the trophy symbolizes nothing beyond bragging rights. Within Texas. Need we write more?
Fun fact(s): The Cowboys won 18 of 31 games against the Oilers and are 5-4 against the Texans. And yes -- somebody somewhere is keeping track.
Given to: The winner of the annual interleague major league baseball series between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.
Lameness quotient: Lunar orbit. Really? There's a trophy for this? The state of Texas is that self-aggrandizing? Who knew? (About the trophy, not the state).
Fun fact(s): According to an MLB.com report, the Rangers celebrated winning their June series against the Astros by "forgetting to celebrate clinching the Silver Boot for the fourth consecutive year. There was no champagne or even Lone Star beer being hoisted in the clubhouse " Say it ain't so!
Given to: The winner of the MLB Home Run Derby.
Lameness quotient: Somewhere in the snowpack of K2. Not entirely an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence -- after all, winners do need to make contact, and powerful contact at that -- but roughly equivalent to giving a platinum radar gun to the pitcher who throws the most 95 mph-plus fastballs in a series of bullpen sessions. The sort of honor that dudes who play international fastpitch softball likely get excited about.
Fun fact(s): The trophy resembles a rabbit-ears television antenna -- younger readers, ask your parents to explain.
Given to: The professional hockey player who best exhibits sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with playing ability.
Lameness quotient: Moderate. Nothing against sportsmanship and gentlemanliness, but a trophy honoring both concepts is probably better suited to a sport with a much lower rate of tooth loss. (Note: We'd be a lot more in favor of the Lady Byng Trophy if the NHL would also start handing out a heavyweight championship belt for the league's top fighter, just for the sake of fairness and balance).
Fun fact(s): No goalie has ever won the trophy. No defenseman has won it in the past 50 years -- probably because players at that position have to regularly, you know, hit people.
Given to: The winner of the annual Boise State-Fresno State college football game.
Lameness quotient: Waving from the observation window of an above-stadium blimp. An affront to historically significant awards such as the Telephone Trophy, the Milk Can is both a nouveau keepsake and an oversized advertising tsotchke, created in 2005 by an alliance of dairy interests in Idaho and central California. What, the "Got Milk?" campaign wasn't successful enough? They couldn't give out free dairy-themed key chains and return address labels instead?
Fun fact(s): Boise and Fresno played each other exactly seven times -- ever -- before the Milk Can
tradition gimmick was established.
Given to: The winner of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament.
Lameness quotient: High, but slowly descending. Look, winning college basketball's national championship is an impressive accomplishment. Shouldn't the corresponding trophy be impressive as well? When Florida won the 2007 title, the NCAA trophy resembled a glorified Best Buy employee of the month award. Today, it appears slightly sleeker and more refined, like an oversized executive paperweight and/or ionic air purifier purchased at a Sharper Image liquidation sale. C'mon, look the part!
Fun fact(s): For comparison's sake, consider the Waterford crystal trophy given to the national champion by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Now that's an award!
Given to: Whatever football factory cartel team finishes the season undefeated and/or with the least-embarrassing early-season loss. Unless, of course, you're LSU.
Lameness quotient: Outside the solar system, heading into deep space. Dubious human polls. No playoffs. Mysterious computer input that lacks the violent, tragic self-awareness of Skynet. No playoffs. Repetitive, brain-numbing debates that only serve to fuel the rich-get-richer status quo. No playoffs. The BCS trophy doesn't necessarily go to college football's national champion so much as its prom king.
Fun fact(s): The trophy itself is worth $30,000; after winning last year's BCS title, Alabama put it on display in a pair of Wal-Marts as part of a sponsorship deal. Symbolism? We'll leave that up to you.
Thomas Neumann, Cam Martin and Greg Hardy contributed to this article.
Patrick Hruby is a freelance writer and ESPN.com contributor. Contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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