Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Trophy, An Icon of Sports Worldwide

What is it about holding a trophy in our hands that makes a victory so complete? And what drives the human psyche to wield a trophy with such gusto high above their heads in victory? In spite of the many and diverse languages, cultures, colors, and religions throughout the world, one thing ties us all together, our reverence for the sports trophy.

Where ever an organized competition is mounted between opponents, be it between two individuals on a tennis court, men on camels, or behemoths on the gridiron, the goal is the same, to clutch in their hands the ultimate symbol of victory, the trophy. To do so, if nothing else, is to elevate oneself above the human condition, if even for a brief respite.

If you are an avid sports fan you probably recognize the various trophies representing your favorite sports, but what about other trophies around the world that, to the participants, are every bit as coveted as the Stanley Cup is to a hockey player. Take a look at a smattering of other sporting events and their trophies men pursue.

Kolanka Cup If size were everything, then the winners of the Kolanka Cup would be hailed as the ultimate sports champions worldwide. Chances are, however, that you and most of the rest of humankind have never heard of it. The Kolanka Cup is a polo trophy awarded in the small Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This is the trophy of trophies, standing six feet tall and able to hold the equivalent of 27 bottles of champagne. It’s size gives you an indication of how much the Indian people love the sport of polo.

Bledisloe Cup The Bledisloe Cup is awarded to the winner of an ongoing rugby feud between Australia and New Zealand. It dates back to 1931 when the cup was donated by Governor-General Lord Bledisloe of New Zealand. A contest for the Cup between these two countries in 2000 drew the largest attendance ever for a rugby match, 110,000 spectators.

America’s Cup This is one of the oldest trophies in international sailing yacht competition. Since the 1920’s the race for the America’s Cup has been between the defending champion and one other challenger. It is interesting to note that each vessel must be designed and built in the country that it hails from. The winner of the America’s Cup must beat its competition in five of nine races over a 24 mile six leg course.

Coronation Cup Starting in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of the new British monarch King Edward VII, the Coronation Cup is a horse race in Great Britain between thoroughbreds four years and older. Presently it is run on the opening day of the Epsom two-day Derby festival meeting.

The Golden Saddle Camel racing has a long and honored heritage in the Middle East. In more recent years the sport has become a popular organized event in the nation of Qatar, culminating with the presentation of the Golden Saddle to the winner of the prestigious race at Al Abgah.

Vince Lombardi Trophy
Some may not recognize the name, but most everyone will recognize the NFL’s championship trophy. This sterling silver football depicted in a kicking position has been around since 1967. 

In 1970 it was renamed in honor of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Engraved on the trophy are the competing teams’ names, the date, location and final score. Each person on the winning team also receives a smaller replica of the trophy.

Stanley Cup
This Icon of sports is awarded each year to the National Hockey League’s winner of the Stanley Cup Finals. One of the most recognizable trophies in the sports world, the Stanley Cup has been around since 1893 and is the namesake of Lord Stanley of Preston, then Governor General of Canada. 

Each year the Cup is passed onto the next winner.  On the five bands forming the trophy’s base, the name of each player for the winning team is inscribed.  Once the bottom band is full, the oldest band (at the top) is removed and placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Dennis Phoenix is an avid sports fanatic and human resource specialist. He writes primarily on topics ranging from business relationships to employee satisfaction for Able Trophies, a supplier of glass awards and crystal awards. He spends his weekends watching sports or mountain biking.

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