Monday, January 26, 2009

On winning honorably

Did you hear the story about the Dallas, Texas high school girls basketball that beat another team 100-0? Just today the school, a Christian school no less, announced that the coach had been fired on the heels of his refusal to apologize for allowing such a drubbing.

I say bravo to the school, Covenant School, and hasta la vista to the coach.

But I also say that the other school, Dallas Academy, which hasn't won a game in 4 years, should consider disbanding its basketball team if it's going to be this embarrassingly terrible.

As you may have previously read on her ("Trophies for everyone!"), I've gone on record saying that kids shouldn't be coddled and should be taught the importance of winning, so long as they win honorably. The case of this school mercilessly beating the other school 100-0 involves no honor--only shame.

Apparently Covenant School was up 59-0 at the half and was still shooting 3-pointers and playing full-court press in the 4th quarter. There is no honor or decency in such tactics.

When you're beating an opponent so badly that there is no way they can come back, there has to come a time when you call off the dogs, just as all the great basketball coaches do--Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Roy Williams at UNC, Billy Donovan at Florida, Rick Pitino at Louisville, Jim Calhoun at UConn et al. In football when you're blowing out the other team, you run the ball up the middle (never pass) and you take a knee when the clock winds down to 2 minutes.

I remember a football game my senior year in high school when we absolutely destroyed our opponent to the tune of 52-0. Our star running back had 231 yards on 10 carries and at least 4 or 5 touchdowns midway through the the second quarter. We could have at least put 80 points on the board, but instead of running up the score our coach pulled the starters before half-time and started playing the second-stringers and young kids. By the third quarter we had our freshmen and sophomores in the game working on their fundamentals. We won honorably.

This coach from Texas? He allowed his players to win dishonorably and in the process he abused the authority and trust placed in him not only to coach these girls, but also to show them the right way. He allowed his players to take the wrong path and cast a terribly bad light over their school. And now he's out of a job.

So what should he have done if the other team was so helpless? Short of asking the other coach for a forfeit or seeking intervention from the referees, he could have instructed his players to hold on to the ball for as long as possible, or pass the ball 10 times before shooting ... basically anything but allow his players to shoot 3s and play full-court press late in the game.

In a street fight, this coach's actions would amount to repeatedly kicking a man in the face after he's already unconscious and close to death. But, no matter how close to dying the victim is, let's keep kicking because we can! Boy, that's a great lesson for young, impressionable kids like these girls at Covenant School.

This coach's firing? Some say it's a sign of the times--punishing someone for success in a society that punishes winning. I call his firing justice. And I hope he learns from his mistake and finds work because, if he has a family, they are suffering from his stupidity and don't deserve it. And if he ever coaches again, he'd better hope he doesn't find himself on the wrong end of a blowout. If that happened, I'd hope the other coach would do the honorable thing. I think that's called the Golden Rule and I'm pretty sure it's a fundamental part of the Christian life.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you missed the boat on this one Wyatt. The coach of the losing team should be fired for having a bunch of babies playing and if he doesn't enjoy getting his ass kicked then maybe his team should spend more time in the gym working on fundamentals. 100-0, not 1 point...come on. I could score 3 points if I just launch full court shots for the entire game and got lucky. I hope the coach that got fired gets picked up by the NBA and is asked to coach the USA in the next Olympics.