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Major Sports Trophies

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by Brian MacDonald

They say that the main objective of sports is to have fun, but really, deep down, we all want to win. After all, what's more fun than victory? And to the victors go the spoils. The Greeks used to reward champions with crowns of laurel, but today of course we prefer metallic to arboreal. We're also more into team sports than individual, hence the rise of the trophy. In many sports winning the championship trophy is the ultimate achievement. Some of these trophies are better than others. . .

Commissioner's Trophy — Major League Baseball: This The Commissioner's Trophytrophy was first presented in 1967. It features flags with each of the (currently) 30 teams on it. The World Series champion gets to keep it and a new one is made each year. I would think that this thing would be very delicate, what with all the long flagpoles and all. Watch you don’t poke an eye out. I love baseball, but to use any word less than Ugly to describe this trophy would be an understatement.

Stanley Cup — National Hockey League: This trophy was The Stanley Cupfirst presented in 1893, making it the oldest trophy represented in this list. The Stanley Cup winner gets to keep the trophy for one year, and each player on the team gets the trophy to himself for one day. It even has its own personal escort. The trophy started as a bowl, but rings have been added, since the trophy actually has the names of every player of every winning team on it. Well, many rings have been removed to keep it from getting too huge. I'm a big fan of that, and the fact that the same trophy makes the rounds every year. It gives it more history. And I've never heard of any kid growing up with a poster of the World Series trophy on their wall, and that's a Good thing.

Vince Lombardi Trophy — National Football League: This Vince Lombardi Trophytrophy was first presented in 1967. The Super Bowl champion gets to keep it and a new one is made each year. Now for the design: it’s a football on a stick. Big deal. I bet it took someone 6 months and a grant of $30,000 to come up with this design. Or maybe it was just someone who was bored at work and doodled something on a napkin. And shouldn't the winner of the Super Bowl at least receive a trophy that is bowl-shaped? It's too Bad that nobody bothered to put some effort into this trophy, given how popular the big game is on a global level.

Larry O'Brien Trophy — National Basketball Association: Larry O'Brien TrophyThis trophy was first presented in 1978. Here is another case where they crank out a new identical trophy every year. I guess it's supposed to be a ball about to go into the basket, but when I see players holding it, I can't help but get nervous that the top is going to fall off. It's like a child holding an ice cream cone: if they're not careful, the ice cream will end up on the sidewalk, and that's always Bad.

Grey Cup — Canadian Football League: This trophy was first Grey Cuppresented in 1909. Like the Stanley Cup, this trophy gets passed from team to team over the years. And they’re both nice and big, making it look impressive when players hoist it above their heads. Also, it's actually over 35 years old, unlike most of these other trophies. Age and history make a trophy more hallowed. They give you champagne when you win a championship, and it's Good to be able to drink it from your trophy.

World Cup — FIFA: North American readers may not be as World Cupfamiliar with this trophy, but I felt compelled to include it given that the World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world. Roughly 1.3 billion (yes, billion) people watched the World Cup final match in 1998. The trophy only dates back to 1971, but the history of the game more than makes up for the lack of history of the trophy. It features two players hoisting the world, which is an appropriate concept for a world cup trophy. Despite the use of the word “cup,” it's not a cup or a bowl, which in my opinion are always the best trophies. But due to its worldwide appeal and the detail of the design, we’ll call this a Good trophy.

As I re-read this article, I've noticed an interesting trend: American trophies suck. The two Canadian trophies rated good, as well as the international trophy. However all three American trophies rated bad or ugly. Now I don't think this is simply a result of my Canadian bias. Considering the importance of professional sports in the United States, it's rather surprising. So while American sporting leagues may have more money and get the better players, they're scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the hardware those players receive.


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