How to Display a Trophy

You did it! You won the big 5k, and have been awarded a 1st place trophy. Sure, it was the 39-46-year-old men’s bracket, and there were only six other entrants… but no one can take this glory away from you! You thrust your arms in the air, taking in the cheers from the crowd as you soak in the moment. You arrive back home, take a shower, enjoy a beverage, and sit to relax your sore feet, all the while admiring that sweet, sweet trophy.

But soon, this moment will fade, and that race will be nothing but a memory. All you’ll be left with to remember your victory is that trophy. So where do you want to put this trophy so you can relive this moment time and time again?

Trophies are interesting in that they are a symbol of excellence, but they may not necessarily “go” with everything. Depending on how big the trophy is, it may not even fit where you most want to display it! Let’s examine the best places to showcase your shiny award.

Maybe the trophy doesn’t actually mean very much to you. You realize that on that one May morning, you were slightly faster than five other neighborhood men. You put it in a box in the attic, only to be broken out decades in the future. “Yeah, man, look at this. My grandfather was a championship runner. He was so modest about it though. He just threw this trophy in a box. What a true American hero he is.”

To put it in your bedroom on your dresser is saying “I don’t like to gloat. I just want this to be for my eyes, to inspire me each morning and remind myself that I was once really good at something.” Few will ever see it. If that’s what you’re going for, great, it’s settled. The same could be said for a home office or den. A trophy next to your laptop screams “I’m in charge, Buster!”

Some, however, prefer for their trophy to actually be seen by others. In this case, a bookcase or shelf in a family room is ideal. Keep in mind, a large golden trophy atop a fireplace mantle may come off as pompous and arrogant. Every time your in-laws come over, they’re reminded “There’s that damn trophy again. Tell us again about what a fast runner you are, Darryl.”

The real man’s man puts his trophy in the garage, next to his seldom-used weight bench. The guys are milling around a car with a popped hood, Miller Lites in hand, and that trophy gleaming in the background, slightly dusty. It says “Yeah, I want to honor the glory days, but I’m not one to live in the past.”

Some even will go so far as to take their trophy to work, especially if you have your own office. Significantly more people are going to see it, and it makes an outstanding icebreaker. “Jesus, look at that beaut! Darryl, I didn’t know you could run!” “Well, yeah, back in the day. I got a whole other box of these in my attic. Don’t like to show off, but…”

Some other interesting placement options include your alma mater or even a child or parent’s home. If you are famous–even just locally–you might wish to have your trophy displayed in a more public place, like a museum, gallery, or gymnasium. Trophies have no other practical uses, except perhaps as props in theatrical productions, car hood ornaments, or in rare instances, self-defense weapons. But in the end, you won the trophy. It’s yours. You need to decide what’s best for you. And if you really don’t give two shits about it, donate it. People love to buy trophies and claim they won something.

Naturally, several caveats exist. For instance, if the award was a Primetime Emmy or NBA MVP trophy, you might wish to display it very prominently. And, this should go without saying, when you have multiple trophies, the rules all change. If you have 40 trophies for bass fishing, you go create yourself a big ass display case in your home. You clearly are super good at something and it was no fluke.

My Hot Take:
I have only won one small trophy that I can recall, the 2001 John Phillip Sousa Award for being the most outstanding instrumentalist in my high school band. For years it sat in a storage box, but I recently asked myself “why?” I worked tirelessly playing trumpet for years. So I brought it to work and planted it on my desk as a paperweight. And, yes, it has been quite the conversation starter.

The placement of the trophy depends on how frequently you want to remember your accomplishment.



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