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Monday, January 26, 2009

Play hard, unless you're kicking the other side's trash, in which case stop trying

Picture this: One high school basketball team beats another high school basketball team 100-0. School administrators from Team 100 feel bad about the blowout and apologize to Team 0. Coach of Team 100 does not feel bad about the blowout, and says his team played a fair game and should not apologize for their victory. Coach gets fired.

School administrators say, "This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition."

Coach says, "I do not agree with the apology or the notion that [Team 100] should feel embarrassed or ashamed.... We played the game as it was meant to be played."


Your reactions?



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13 comments:

Dena said...

Team 0 was interviewed on the news the other night and they seem to be taking it pretty well. They've NEVER won a game. What gets me is that the Team 100 coach gets blasted for allowing it to get to 100-0. Did the Team 0 coach have anything to do with that blasting? Probably not. Why not? Because Team 0 seemed like a bunch of good kids who learned how to be good sports.

Team 100's coach should not have been fired. Those who scheduled the two teams as actual opponents were (I'm guessing) fully aware of each team's athletic abilities. Team 0 is a team of kids who live with disabilities. Team 100 is a team of average teenagers who have an obvious advantage in skills.

It's PC bullshit. My two cents, at least :)

sov said...

What does Christ have to do with Basketball or competition? Jesus Christ.

I think the game got a little out of hand. Obviously it wasn't a fair competition to begin with, but that score is a bit overdoing it.

I don't agree with firing the coach, but I do think an apology was in order.

B.R. said...

My question when I heard about this was, 'What informs someone's efforts to beat the other side so embarrassingly? The desire to win cannot be (it's not) need-based in this case as, clearly, there is no need to show superiority after the first bundle of points has been scored.

Students could be taught much about the nature of victory and how the notions of honor, kindness, and social awareness might inform it.

Apparently, the coach subscribes to a different school of thought....

This whole setting oozes a kind of extremism that needs to be curbed by a whole lot, say 70+ points or so.

tauns said...

SK - to answer your question...it is Christian Private schools that were playing each other...not public schools. That is why they said it wasn't Christlike.

This has been a bit big here in OK due to it being in TX. The reason stated that I heard on the news for the coach loosing his job was because at half-time they were up 59-0 and he advised his team to try to get to 100-0. The school administrators came back after, embarrassed and asked for it to be recorded as a forfeit rather than a win. The coach freaked saying they won. I think the coach did deserve to be fired. Being a coach goes beyond the court, even though you are hired for the court. You are helping shape those young lives. Showing good sportsmanship is part of the coaches job!

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Don't we all have to learn lessons of winning and losing in life? What happens when these kids get out of their protective private school environments and learn the real world is a tough place? While the win was clearly lopsided, it's just a game. I'd like to think kids are mature enough to realize that. Apparently the adults are not.

Claire said...

Yeah, there are few things less attractive than an overwhelming victor whose attitude is unapologetically "BOO-YA!"

Nilsa's dead on - clearly, the kids have the upper hand, maturity-wise.

That is all.

Frank said...

Competition is a measurement of opposing forces. If one force is absent there really was no competition. This could have been a great life lesson on compassion, true competition and building others. If the winning coach stated that he would do it the same way again, then I agree that he should seek a like-minded administration. I would not want to have a son playing for that coach.

Sra said...

Well, I've gotten some very interesting perspectives here. Thanks for that. I thought I'd give everyone else a chance to chime in before letting out my opinion, which is:

I think it would have been weird if Team 100 had decided halfway through the game to stop trying, simply because they were destroying the other team. I don't think there's anything wrong with the coach encouraging his team to keep playing hard. That is a coach's job.

Personally, when I play against someone at something, I don't appreciate if they try to let me win or try to go easy on me. I want to win or lose by each of us playing according to our respective skills.

So I don't think the coach had anything to apologize for. Sports are not polite, or "Christ-like". Neither is life, and that is an important lesson in itself.

Also, I think it's irrelevant that Team 0 was from a school specializing in kids with "learning differences". These are not special needs kids, but kids with things like dyslexia and ADD. Those differences should have no impact on sport ability, IMO.

Having said all this, these teams were severely mismatched and probably shouldn't have even played against one another. But then again, if Team 0 really has never won a game, maybe they shouldn't be playing at all. But then again, they play anyway, so maybe they don't care if they get slammed. Maybe they just want to play. In which case, no one should have to feel like they should yield to the lesser team.

Frank said...

In college football, 2008 Florida and Oklahoma excepted, it is standard that when one team has completely dominated the other, the coach puts in the second string and/or he takes the opportunity to run plays that have not been practiced. It is viewed as bad form/sportsmanship to run up the score just because you can.

When I was young I watched a western where the good guys set up an ambush for the bad guys that were chasing them. The shooting started and they killed the main bad guy, so the rest turned to run. The main good guy, Jimmy Stewart, told the others to let them go. One kept shooting, the other asked why let them go? Jimmy replied, “If you have to ask I can’t tell you.”

Sra- You said you want to win or lose playing to your respective skills. But would you pit your skill against grade school kids??? Like Kramer being top of the Dojo, what have you earned when your opponent is so far below your skill level that they can’t even score once? Is it right to leave your opponent not just defeated, but morally beat down to where they may wish to never play the game again?

Although, having said that- the best attorney’s I have worked with have that killer, take no prisoners instinct… And not saying right or wrong. Just point, counter point, for that attorney mind of yours.

Sra said...

Frank, Thank you for commenting again. I didn't mention before, and probably should have, that I think you comment is the most compelling comment from the other side of this argument. I can see your point. (And being able to see both sides is the sign of a good attorney, no?)

I like your Western story, but it doesn't really have to do with this situation, does it? The unspoken reason they are not to keep shooting is because the ring leader is dead. The rest of them pose no threat. I just don't think that's an apt analogy to this situation, but I like the story anyway. Good line.

Would I pit my skills against grade schoolers? No, probably not. Not unless they were somewhat equally or more skilled at whatever we were pitting against, which could very well happen. For instance, these days E's 13 year old nephew could completely waste me at video games. In fact he has wasted me at guitar hero. Hell, the kid plays the actual guitar so much that he wastes me at that too! But would I play hard soccer, for instance, against a team of 5 year olds? No. The particulars matter.

Recently I played chess with a friend who eats, sleeps, and breathes the game. I don't. I used to play quite a bit when I was a kid, used to know the four move checkmate (can't quite remember it now), and remember when my grandpa would tell me I wanted to rethink a particular move back when he was teaching me as a child. But I haven't really played the game much for many years. Needless to say, we were quite outmatched. The first game, he completely wasted me. The second game, I realized I needed to step up my thought process, and I became more analytical of my moves and the consequences of them. I still lost, but I held my own much better. At the end I think it was basically his king and queen against my king and bishop, or some such.

Ok, so I don't know anything about these teams other than what has been listed in the news stories. It could be that they were so ridiculously outmatched that it would be like me soccering against a bunch of 5 year olds. But I'm betting that they are just a team of kids that nobody has ever expected much from, and so they have never been given much reason to push themselves. Just a wild guess. And if that's the case, I don't think bowing down to them is the right way to encourage them to play their hardest. Also, they don't really seem to have minded the blowout, as far as the news reports go, so it's not like this was some terrible blow to their egos. As for Coach running up the score instead of encouraging his girls to try difficult plays, well, that's not as noble an attitude to be sure. But I also don't think there's anything wrong with playing however you want to play within the rules.

I really appreciate your engaging me on this, it's fun to discuss.

Frank said...

Thank you for the well thought discussion. It’s nice to discuss a subject with someone that makes intelligent points. I think the point of the western was that you don’t keep shooting at the backs of those that have completely given up. At some point, enough is enough.

The movie is “Bend of the River,” (1952), and is on AMC, Comcast channel 38 about a dozen times per month. But don’t expect some grand production. It’s clearly a 1950’s colorized western. Yea baby!!! (Ok, I still watch it.)

I think for me, it would come down to the reason the coach pushed for the 100 points. Did he do it to push his team to accomplish something for the evening??? Or did he push so that he would have an unbelievable record that would never be repeated???

And the chess move is King Pawn, Bishop, Queen, Queen, Checkmate. The ability to see and argue either side to a win is the sign of a good attorney. You will make a great attorney.

Frank said...

Competition is a measurement of opposing forces. If one force is absent there really was no competition. This could have been a great life lesson on compassion, true competition and building others. If the winning coach stated that he would do it the same way again, then I agree that he should seek a like-minded administration. I would not want to have a son playing for that coach.

B.R. said...

My question when I heard about this was, 'What informs someone's efforts to beat the other side so embarrassingly? The desire to win cannot be (it's not) need-based in this case as, clearly, there is no need to show superiority after the first bundle of points has been scored.

Students could be taught much about the nature of victory and how the notions of honor, kindness, and social awareness might inform it.

Apparently, the coach subscribes to a different school of thought....

This whole setting oozes a kind of extremism that needs to be curbed by a whole lot, say 70+ points or so.

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