Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2014

Awards versus rewards

By By Brooks Taylor | Feb 14, 2014

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

I debated a while whether I wanted to broach this topic, but finally reasoned if more words are devoted to the last word in this headline, I would be safe.

First off, a confession. I will admit winning contest awards is pleasing. Who doesn’t like to receive positive reinforcement from your peers? That said, there are, however, many things much more important in life.

My only other comment on awards is that I would have been equally happy had they had the names of Ashlee De Wit, Trisha Phelps and Megan Cooper on them.

The trio comprises the remainder of The News’ reporting staff. They are all bright, caring, responsible, hard working, dedicated and take pride in their work. They, too, should be recognized…and that was my intent by using the word awards in the headline. Mission accomplished.

Rewards, I believe, are much more important than awards. Rewards also come more often.

I define rewards as the comments you hear from your readers — the woman in the grocery store who tells you she enjoyed that story you did on her neighbor or the gentlemen who sends you a card thanking you for your efforts in publicizing the Elks Lodge’s scholarship presentation.

There are also rewards in criticism. Granted, it is not as easy on the ears but it tells you that they have read. And isn’t that our wish as reporters?

Another reason why these rewards are so important is that your reading audience can be your harshest critics, but they also can give you the warmest thank yous.

Your readers are the people you see daily, you brush shoulders with them Sundays at church, you see them sporting events and school music concerts and they breathe the same air you do.

So, while awards and rewards can mean the same to some and even rhyme in poetry, they are quite different.

I have another confession to make — I am an Olympics junkie. While most years I consider February the most boring month of the year, every four years it springs to life with the Winter Olympics.

When I think about it, it seems odd that I would enjoy the Winter Olympics as much as the Summer Olympics. Save for a little ice skating done as a child and a couple attempts at cross-country skiing, I have not participated in any of the other sports on the docket.

My love for the Olympics, I believe, is that because it is amateur (save for a few of the sports and some “amateur” athletes are well-compensated) athletics at their best. I have always preferred effort over talent and while you have to be extremely talented to be an Olympic athlete, effort (and maybe luck here and there) separates the three on the podium from the remainder of the field.

Secondly, the Olympics promotes a feeling of nationalism. If you don’t get a goose bump or two as you see a United States athlete on the top step of the podium while The Star Spangled Banner is being played, you better check your pulse.

And finally, the Olympics has greatly reduced my viewership of college basketball and also provided something to watch on Sunday nights, normally a very dismal night of television.

This time, I hope Lolo Jones comes home with a medal. That would be the icing on the cake.

 

 

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