Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Someone Else's Fault
A Texas high school basketball coach has been fired after his team beat another team 100–0 on the same day that sent an email to a local newspaper saying he would not apologize “for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.”
On its Web site last week, Covenant, a private Christian school, posted a statement regretting the outcome of its January 13 shutout win over Dallas Academy. “It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition,” said the statement, signed by school officials.
The coach who has been criticized for letting the game get so far out of hand, made it clear in the email Sunday to the newspaper that he does not agree with his school’s assessment. “In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed. We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.”
A parent who attended the game said Covenant continued to make 3-pointers—even in the fourth quarter. She praised the Covenant players but said spectators and an assistant coach were cheering wildly as their team edged closer to 100 points. Covenant was up 59-0 at halftime.
Dallas Academy has eight girls on its varsity team and about 20 girls in its high school. It is winless over the last four seasons. The academy boasts of its small class sizes and specializes in teaching students struggling with “learning differences,” such as short attention spans or dyslexia.
Okay. I appreciate a school not wanting to run up the score on another team. Especially on a team that specializes in teaching students with “learning differences”—whatever that term is supposed to mean.
But wait a minute. What about teaching the girls another lesson—life is sometimes tough and stinks all the way to heaven! There are going to be blowouts in life. Blowouts happen! (I can see that on a bumper sticker now!) All of life isn't good and just because school administrators try to deny it or hide it or protect the girls from the truth, the truth is still the truth. Sounds like to me the girls handled the truth pretty well--it was the adults who couldn't handle the truth! What else is new! Kids have a great way of seeing life for it is. It's us old folks that struggle with make-believe!
What did the school think would happen? Only 20 girls in the entire school and only 8 girls on the team. Those 8 girls have “learning differences.” That team hasn’t won a game in 4 years! 4 years!
So, rather than teaching the girls the value of playing the game and accepting loss, the other team fires its head coach for not pulling back his girls. What lesson would pulling them back teach his team? Play hard sometimes? Play hard when the competition is tough? Play hard when you are told to play hard?
I know the score was very one-sided. I get that!
But, think about this. Maybe those girls were shooting three-point shots from way outside their normal range, just hoping to miss and every shot they made still found its way in the hoop! Did anyone think about that possibility? The winning team still had to shoot the basketball and even layups are not always going to go in--especially if someone attempts to guard you! Also, the winning team couldn’t score for the other team! Did you think about that?
I’m sorry if this post seems heartless, but I’ve played sports for many years of my life. I don’t ever remember any team, coach, or player “taking it easy” on us just because we were smaller, less experienced, or whatever excuse we could have come up with! We played to win. They played to win. And, most of the time, the best team comes out on top. Period. That's why we keep score, as Michael Jordan reminded us, even in practice. Because in sports, someone always wins or loses, except in soccer, but that's another rant for another day.
Friends, it’s not always someone else’s fault!