Normally after our season ends, the coach of each champion team orders trophies for their kids that the local Recreation Department subsidizes. This year, since we’re doing a full blown tournament, we figured it would be nice to have the trophies there on game day so the kids could see them and we could hand them out after each championship game. So I was tasked with getting some nice trophies. Talk about a recipe for disaster!

Since almost every team’s parents get the kids small participation trophies each year, the championship trophies had to stand out a bit. So I figured something about 12" tall with a marble base and a nice figurine on top.

First, I was amazed how many different types of trophies there are now. From the classic marble and brass colored figurines to pseudo stone to fake bronze and pewter relief. Can you tell my wife and team manager has always handled the team participation trophies? She manages to find unique and different awards for each season.

Anyway, I was browsing around and figured that for a 12" trophy I’d probably pay $10-$15 Boy was I wrong. I checked out a number of award sites like EPIC Soccer, Dinn Brothers, and Awards International. While some more unique metal relief awards with a lot of detail in the figure were approaching $15, a nice classic trophy was like $6-$9. I was floored. I know trophies are a lot easier to make these days since computers do all the engraving, but still. Even if the plates are black printed vs engraved it’ll be worth it. Some of the awards we looked at can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. We ended up choosing a really nice trophy, 12 3/4", a real marble base (I emailed them to confirm this because I couldn’t believe that price – the base had to be plastic), the soccer kick figurine, and a 2nd small figure with "2005" on it. All for $6.95 and free shipping!

And the ordering was so easy. You chose the type of trophy, then they asked what you wanted on each plate and if a given line should be repeated. Then they prompted you for each trophy’s unique engraving lines. Finally they return a web page displaying each plate in a table so you can review them for accuracy before submitting them. Very cool. I ordered ours a bit late (April 17th I believe) and we needed them today April 29th. 2nd day air would have been $110, so we chose ground figuring from Chicago to North Carolina wouldn’t take more than 3 days. Woo hoo! Got a UPS tracking number Wednesday and UPS confirms the trophies will be here Friday. I’ll post an update once I see the trophies in my hand.

But suffice to say I was amazed at how wide a range of awards there are now these days and also how inexpensive and easy to order they were. Yes, I know this doesn’t help our local sporting goods store. But most of our teams (my 3 included) get our uniforms from our local SG store which has been very good to us. And we do a lot of business with them for league sweatshirts, cleats for kids, etc.

While ordering the trophies was easy, figuring out the figurine was not. We are a Co-ed league. Most trophies have male and female figurines you can get. Easy enough if you already know the team they are going to, but in our case we wanted the trophies there that day. Easy enough, I’d just get the boy figurine for all of them in that ‘he is used in this document in a gender neutral sense’ Lets just say when I told my wife I almost slept on the couch. She insisted that I get appropriate gender figurines. I explained how hard it would be given that we had no idea who would win and they had different breakdowns. She was having NONE of it and threatened to sic the soccer moms on me. crazy.gif Needless to say I had second thoughts.

I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or insensitive. Its just a tricky sort of problem. Well, since we have all of our records in a database, I ran some roster stats that gave me the M/F breakdown for each team that had advanced to the semi-finals (except in U10 which was a week late so I had to account for ALL of their teams – good thing I did considering all the upsets!) Turned out that our rosters, while not exactly the same, were close thanks to the efforts of our division coordinators to create gender equal rosters. So I think I had to order like two extra trophies worst case if a given team won ($14 – no big deal) and that ensured I had enough of each type of trophy no matter who won. Of course that’s assuming our coaches have kept their rosters accurate! LOL

Ugh its raining and the forecast for tomorrow looks iffy. Might be some muddy play on the pitch tomorrow.

UPDATE: They came and they are VERY nice. The kids are going to love these!