Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of legendary motorcycle racer that’s won races and championships all over the world. I’m a fairly average one, to be honest. But I’ve been doing it a long time, and I’ve had a little bit of moderate success here and there. And because of that, I’ve won quite a lot of silverware (silverware which is actually almost entirely plastic). But a few years ago, I nearly threw all the trophies I’ve ever won in the bin. This is why.
A lot of my trophies date back to my schoolboy MX years. Back then, if it was a full grid (or ‘gate’, as us MX kids say) they might have handed trophies out down to tenth place. I wasn’t fantastic at motocross, but I was quite often good enough to go home with a sixth or seventh place trophy. I don’t remember winning my first ever trophy and I certainly don’t know what it looks like, so I wouldn’t be able to lay my hand on it even if I wanted to. For some of my mates, their first trophy is a bit of a thing, but for me it’s not. Possibly because it’s likely to be a ninth place trophy or something a bit crap like that.
Most of my trophies though, are from the various events I’ve competed at since the MX days. Naturally, some trophies do mean slightly more to me than others and I’d be lying if I said otherwise. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you where any of them are.
Way back when
Anyway, about five years ago I was getting ready to move house. I was sorting through some stuff I’d left at my dad’s house whilst between addresses, and came across a couple of cardboard boxes filled with old trophies. There was stuff from the very beginning as well as newish stuff that I’d won recently and just chucked into the box, with the rest. What was I supposed to do with it all?
I knew I didn’t really ought to throw them all out. But I couldn’t very well leave them lying round at my dad’s house for him to trip over. And I certainly didn’t want to take them all to the pokey little two bed terraced house I’d just bought (it’s a tight enough squeeze in here as it is).
So I said to myself “Look, all these trophies have been in a box, underneath loads of shirts in a wardrobe for Christ-knows how long. You’ve never gone through them and reminisced about the old days. You don’t remember winning half of them. You’re not going to miss them, all they’re going to do is clutter someone’s house up. Just get rid of them, and let’s have done.”
So that was that, I’d made my mind up. I carted all the boxes outside to my van and had a sweep round to find any other errant trophies lying around, to take them to the tip. I thought about keeping one or two but then thought better of it. In for a penny, in for a pound, and all that.
I was just loading the last few pots into my van when one of my dad’s neighbours, Mr. Bell at the end, stopped and asked me what was going on. I told him I’d had enough of all these plastic trophies, and was going to lob them. I explained my reasoning, but it seemed to rather irritate him. “All the hard work you’ve put into earning them,” he said “and you’re just going to throw them away?”. I wasn’t really expecting him to give a shit, but he did. Perhaps if they’d been bunging his house up for the last ten years he might see it differently. Alas, he didn’t, and he attempted to persuade me that if I threw them away, one day I’d regret it. He told me that eventually, I’ll want to display them; perhaps when I’ve got kids and I can tell them all about them.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really believe him. And I think I took them back into the house more out of politeness than anything else. But whether I believed him or not, that one day I’d regret binning all them trophies, was irrelevant really. The end result was that they were back where they started, in my old bedroom at my dad’s house.
Here and now
Fast forward to 2022, and some of the trophies have made it to my house (still in boxes) but a lot of them are still at my dad’s (also still in boxes). And now, I’m about to move house again. This time though, I’m moving in with a lady. A very nice lady. The problem with ladies though, is they tend to have loads of clothes. Way too many clothes. More clothes than anyone ought to ever need in a single lifetime. And my good lady is no exception. Wardrobes, cupboards, draws, bags, boxes, full of them, all bursting at the seams.
Now as you’d imagine the excessive nature of her collection has been the subject of discussion, on more than one occasion. She’s got some lovely frocks, but I’ve told her that if she’s not going to wear them (or doesn’t even remember she’s got them in the first place), let’s not bother taking them to the new house.
Why am I banging on about my domestic situation and my partners mountain of clothes? I’ll tell you. To me, it’s illogical to waste time and effort shifting something from one place to the next, to keep it for no reason. Why would anyone do that?
Well that’s exactly what I’ve done with my stash of old racing trophies. I’ve dragged them from pillar to post, not once taking them out of the boxes they’ve been transported in. So with another house move imminent, I’ve got a decision to make.
Should they stay or should they go?
Do I take my trophies with me, or do I throw them away? Honestly, I think I’ll end up throwing them away. I just don’t see the point in keeping them.
You have to ask yourself what they are for. Are they to remind you of a good result? Well I don’t need them to do that, because I can remember all the good races anyway. Just like I can remember the bad ones! Are they to help convince other people how fast you are? Perhaps that’s why some people display them in a glass cabinet in their living room. Mine though, aren’t going to convince anyone of anything, sat in a box in the loft. And are they worth anything? No.
I’ve come to the conclusion that trophies are great, but it’s not having them sat on your mantlepiece that’s great, it’s the winning them in the first place. And I’ve learnt over the years, that unless you’re a MotoGP rider, nobody really gives a shit how fast you are, and you’re not going to impress anyone with a few bike racing trophies.
I’m very sorry Mr. Bell, but it looks like the trophies are going.