SAMMI change lessens the award
November 7, 2012
Syndrome, the villain in the classic Pixar move “The Incredibles,” has a line that almost perfectly encapsulates the recent change to the SAMMI Awards. After explaining how his inventions will effectively give superpowers to anyone who wants them, he sneers, “Everyone can be super! And when everyone’s super … no one will be.”
After years of recognizing Sammamish residents who have made outstanding contributions to the community, the SAMMI Board of Directors has announced that they will now give out awards to numerous nominees in each category — instead of having just one winner. The reason, they explain, is to make the ceremony more inclusive and less competitive.
Unfortunately, however, the change will serve to cheapen the award.
Certainly, there are more people each year who perform worthy deeds than the SAMMIs have the capacity to recognize. But no matter how many plaques organizers give out on awards night, someone will be left out. Someone will go un-nominated. Someone who has changed the life of another person for the better may never get their name on a plaque.
The simple fact is some people have a greater impact than others. Some actions reach a wider segment of the population. Some actions are more impressive. Some hurdles are higher, some sacrifices greater. And let’s face it, the people who serve their community did not do it for the reward of a plaque. The SAMMIs were intended to put a few individuals on pedestals as symbols of the goodwill of Sammamish citizens.
By giving the award to multiple nominees, the SAMMI board dilutes the impact of each one. This is not a U6 children’s soccer team where everyone gets a ribbon for participation. These are people who are mature enough to be able to applaud someone else, proud they were nominated and recognized at all.
The other change in 2013, a pared list of categories, is a welcome one. This helps give greater focus to the awards concentrating on volunteerism and other actions that inspire the community.
There is nothing wrong with choosing a winner for an award recognizing service. The SAMMI board should rethink its decision.