Great sports trophies
Some are more venerable than others
As most sailors know, but much of the rest of the world doesn't, the America's Cup is the oldest perpetual trophy in all of sports. It was made in 1848 and was first contested in 1851. It spent much of its life in the United States, until 1983, when boats from other countries began to win it, and it has since traveled around the world.
Another trophy that has been around for a while is the FA Cup, awarded to the champion of English football (what Americans call soccer), and first contested in 1871. While it is a perpetual trophy that goes home with the winning team each year, it has actually been replaced a few times over the years. It also is not an international trophy the way the America's Cup is.
For an international trophy, we can look at The Ashes, commemorating a long series of cricket matches between England and Australia. This trophy originated in 1882 following a match in which the Australians gave the English team its first defeat on home soil. The name originated from a satirical piece in which the death of English cricket was announced, with the notice that it would be cremated and its ashes sent to Australia. The Ashes is a terra cotta urn that supposedly contains the ashes of a burnt cricket bail (or possibly some other piece of cricket equipment). However, The Ashes isn't a true perpetual trophy and was never intended to be one; it is fragile and remains in a museum in England. Instead, a much newer trophy is currently used as the official award for winning the test match series.
In North America, the Stanley Cup is often erroneously supposed to be the oldest perpetual trophy in sport. It has certainly been around for a long time, since 1893. It is also international, as the National Hockey League has teams in both the United States and Canada. While it doesn't even come close to the America's Cup in age, it can be recognized as the oldest trophy in professional sports in North America.
Some newer trophies can also be recognized as great. The Borg-Warner Trophy, for example, has been awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 automobile race since 1936. Part of what makes this trophy special is that it bears a sculptured likeness of all of the winners of the race since its inception in 1911, rather than a mere inscription of the winner and the date.
And then we come to the Rio Grande Sailing Club's own Jack and Jill Bucket. The annual Jack and Jill Regatta is held in mid-May and is a his-and-hers race. To commemorate the name of the regatta, the trophy is a galvanized pail; each year, the previous year's winner is to place a bottle of champagne into the bucket before turning it over to the new trophy holder. For several years, Zorro and I had been the holders of the bucket; however, last year, he failed to show up, and we ended up forfeiting the pail to Yoda and Esther (one more thing that went wrong in 2009). This year, Zorro promises he will show up, and so we plan to take it back.
(Note: I hope to add a photo to this post soon, so you can see the Jack and Jill Bucket in all its glory.)