No remorse over winning

When I was a kid, my mother hammered into my brain the importance of putting forth my best effort.

It’s why she never let me settle for a C. It’s why I had to practice basketball outside of team practices. I think it’s also the reason why I had to be in so many of those annoying children’s choirs at church, a silly fate I will not thrust upon my own children someday.

It’s common knowledge that, in most instances, a 100 percent effort is what brings out the best in people, and separates success from failure.

Which is why I think Covenant School in Dallas is very wrongheaded by wanting to forfeit it’s 100-0 girls basketball victory over Dallas Academy.

To recap the game, Covenant was up 59-0 at halftime. Instead of “letting up” in the second half, the team continued to hustle, running the full-court press and sinking 3-pointers, pushing the score higher and higher until about 4 minutes left in the game, when they hit Wilt Chamberlain’s magic number.

Kyle Queal, the head of the Covenant school, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “A victory without honor is a great loss.” To me, that statement just screams ignorance.
Because the girls basketball team decided to play hard the entire game, they lacked honor? Talking trash on the court is something that lacks honor, but by all accounts of the game, there was no swearing or hateful language from the winning side. Just hard work for the full length of the game, a value that T-ball players learn.

And that hard work lacks honor? To me, “taking it easy” on the other team is what lacks honor. If I’m on the opposing side, pity is something far more insulting than getting beat by 70 points. Knowing I lost to someone who half-heartedly played the game is a worse defeat than if the other team gave it their best.

Dallas Academy hasn’t won a game in the last four years, according to the AP story, and many of the students have learning disabilities. But those circumstances should not warrant someone taking it easy on them, or anyone else, in a basketball game.

I may sound like an insensitive clot, but why should a team be forced to “let up” when the game is getting out of hand?

Once you get into the “real world” full of grownups, nobody is going to take it easy on you. Sadly, the world is a cruel place, and it will eat you alive. The world will not “take it easy on you” when things start to get a little lopsided. If it did, we wouldn’t be in an economic recession right now.

If school is indeed the place that gets you ready for life as an adult, then why should we try to shield students from one of life’s biggest realities. Sadly, this isn’t limited to this basketball game.

Take Connecticut’s “mercy rule,” for instance. Instituted in 2006, it stipulates that if a high school football team wins by 50 points or more, the coach is suspended for the next game.

Which is sad: if you’re the riding the bench all season, and you finally get some playing time in such a blowout, you don’t get to go all-out: you instead have to take it easy on the other team.
No touchdown passes for that third-string quarterback: just keep handing the ball off or risk coach missing next week’s big game.

I’m not arguing for the starters to stay in the entire game: it’s good coaching to let your bench players get some experience. But if those players are performing fantastically, don’t hamper them down with a guilt trip over lack of compassion. If the other team gets beat by 100 points, they get beat by 100 points. They should learn something from it and move on.

Oddly, it’s the losing Dallas Academy team that understands competitive spirit more than the adults on the remorseful Covenant team.

“Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing,” freshman Shelby Hyatt told the AP. “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK.”

I applaud the Covenant players for busting their chops for the entire game. I applaud the Dallas Academy players for the determined attitude shown by Hyatt and her other teammates. It’s only the wrongheaded “grownups” who are making this situation unbearable (I don’t think the players would feel guilty for the win if the adults weren’t telling them to feel guilty).

However, Hyatt won’t get to keep trying this year. An article on ESPN.com reported that Dallas Academy cancelled the rest of its conference games, effectively ending the season for the basketball players.

It’s a shame that the lesson these girls will learn from the “responsible” adults around them is that when opposition comes your way, give up.

That life lesson is worse than any blowout.


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    About This Blog

    A blog for the masses, if by masses you mean myself and family members who probably read this out of pity.

    I'm dustin Faber, the 16-bit Catholic. This blog is an amusing, sometimes thought-provoking look at my life and the world around me. Poetry, cooking recipes, gaming, faith, things that make me go awww, things that make me go grrr, and my obsession with a good glass of root beer can be found here.

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