Not a very Christy win
January 27, 2009 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Basketball coach is fired b/c of 100-0 point game, his team won

The losing team was a school for the learning disabled, the winning school claimed the win was "not very Christ-like."
posted by BrnP84 (287 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Christ played basketball?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:20 AM on January 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


Twenty bucks says that that coach listens to Rush Limbaugh. Letting the poor disabled kids make a few baskets is socialism, etc.
posted by billysumday at 8:21 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ played basketball?

Did he ever!
posted by billysumday at 8:22 AM on January 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh, Jesus.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:22 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good riddance. A failure of sportsmanship is a coach's biggest failure of all.
posted by caddis at 8:23 AM on January 27, 2009 [24 favorites]


Was the whole team part of a Milgram experiment? Couldn't they have just ignored the coach and stopped scoring?
posted by minifigs at 8:24 AM on January 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Grimes said in his Sunday post that his team stopped applying full-court defensive pressure after the score reached 25-0 three minutes into the game, then dropped into a relatively benign zone defense and began resting its starters in favor of its three bench players.

This is just a goofy situation with no good solution going into it. Should they have only scored when Dallas Academy scored? Should they have just scored a handful of points? I don't know, and it looks like no one else did either. This is something that really should have been thought through before the game - there's a reason NBA teams don't regularly play college teams.
posted by niles at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2009 [16 favorites]


Good riddance. A failure of sportsmanship is a coach's biggest failure of all.

But yes, that too.
posted by niles at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


niles, is it really that hard? They were ahead 59-0 at half time. The coaches should have huddled up and called the game then. If the other coach wanted to keep playing for whatever masochistic reason, then the one team should have just held the ball, worked on their dribbling and passing, and not taken a shot.
posted by billysumday at 8:29 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really? I think beating up on an inferior opponent is very Republican Christ-like.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:30 AM on January 27, 2009


This is just a goofy situation with no good solution going into it.

The solution is "Pass them the ball, let them take some shots, cheer them on." Etc. Jesus Christ, high school sports are the tip of fascism's spear.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:32 AM on January 27, 2009 [18 favorites]


THERE IS NO MERCY IN THIS DOJO.
posted by The Straightener at 8:32 AM on January 27, 2009 [46 favorites]


Christ played basketball?

No, that's why the win wasn't Christ-like. The coach should have just said, "Render unto Wilson that which are Wilson's," sent the ball back to the factory, and walked away.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:33 AM on January 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


Christ played basketball?

Didn't you know?
posted by kaseijin at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


My mistake..I emphasized the wrong part of my thoughts. It looks to me like the team just showed up and played. If someone had taken 5 minutes to think this through before hand, the whole situation could have been played out so much better. Without any forethought, the team just showed up and did what they always do.
posted by niles at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2009


I saw this on fark yesterday. Just saying.

I didn't even get the issue, not being a team sports fan, but what it come down to was that it was a runaway game. There's a provision that allows lopsided games to be ended early or to have the clock not stop (or some such).

If you read some of the story comments a coach weighs in on the issue. I guess it comes down to the fact that the winning team didn't have to rub the other team's face in it. They could have just ran down the clock.

Though I am uncertain why being beat 60-0 is better, especially when the game descends into a game of keep-away. Makes little sense to me.

I also think the blow-out provisions are silly. The losing coach could have forfeited. I've competitively fought people way worse than me, and never saw one give up. I've also had my clock cleaned and I didn't give up. I'm not sure why this is different.

There's a lot of blame to go around on this one (if people want to have someone to blame). Like who put these two teams together in the first place? If there is a policy of not running up the score, why no make it clearer?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


high school sports are the tip of fascism's spear.

It's Woodstock compared to the Boy Scouts.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


They really nailed that fuckin' coach.
posted by gman at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll theorize that someone with a grudge against the coach set him up for an obviously unwinnable situation from the start.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:36 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who Would Jesus Fire?
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:36 AM on January 27, 2009


It reminds me of when Canada plays Kazakhstan in hockey.
posted by gman at 8:37 AM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Where the hell was the ref? Really, the responsibility for the conduct of the players falls on the coaches, but the conduct of the game is the referee.
posted by mrmojoflying at 8:38 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is just a goofy situation with no good solution going into it

Possible good solutions:

- Take your starters out of the game after halftime and give your bench some playing time

- When the score is 59-0, maybe consider telling your girls to not take any more 3-point shots which run up the score

- Stop with the aggressive full-court press defense when it is obvious a comeback by your opponents is more or less impossible

It's not as if the only alternative to aggressively running up the score against an inferior team is to just hand them the ball and let them shoot freely.
posted by The Gooch at 8:39 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


> ...the winning school claimed the win was "not very Christ-like."

Why not? They crucified 'em.
posted by ardgedee at 8:40 AM on January 27, 2009 [37 favorites]


This losing team couldn't throw up ONE two-pointer? Why does this school even have a basketball team? We're any of these kids having fun or enjoying themselves? If so, who cares about the loss? If not, dissolve the team.
posted by Mach5 at 8:40 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Somebody had to teach those uppity disabled kids a lesson!
IN YOUR FACE!!!
posted by orme at 8:41 AM on January 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


The Gooch:
Grimes said in his Sunday post that his team stopped applying full-court defensive pressure after the score reached 25-0 three minutes into the game, then dropped into a relatively benign zone defense and began resting its starters in favor of its three bench players.
posted by Mach5 at 8:41 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


ardgedee wins in a blowout!
posted by sfts2 at 8:42 AM on January 27, 2009


Dooced?
posted by eastlakestandard at 8:43 AM on January 27, 2009


Metafilter: clearly does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach
posted by jckll at 8:46 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Take your starters out of the game after halftime and give your bench some playing time

There are only 8 girls on the roster.
posted by fusinski at 8:47 AM on January 27, 2009


Speaking as a coach of youth basketball for number of years, if its me, I'd rather have the other team continue to compete than to let up. That is more embarrassing. I can't speak to how every kid would feel - JMHO.
posted by sfts2 at 8:47 AM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Mach5:

Understood, but one paragraph down:

Dallas Academy coach Andrew Lott agreed that Covenant stopped pressing at that point but returned with an alternate press later in the game.

"I am 100 percent sure," said Lott, who estimated that his team was able to take seven shots all game.

posted by The Gooch at 8:49 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The coaches should have huddled up and called the game then. If the other coach wanted to keep playing for whatever masochistic reason,

I don't believe this call was the coaches' to make, formally. When the overseeing body (whether it's the UIL which regulates Texas public school sports, or TAPPS which I believe had authority over this private school game) decides that there is a "mercy rule," there is one. If there is not a mercy rule, the game is to go on.

Doesn't mean the Covenant coach couldn't have informally made the decision, of course.

I'm just saying that it likely wouldn't have worked in a "let's agree to call the game" way.

A couple of things I'd like to point out before a pile-on:
"Dallas Academy, renowned for its work with students who have learning disabilities, is winless this season and has not won a game in at least four seasons."
While Dallas Academy might very well be renowned for its work with students with disabilities, I've not seen a single report or document indicating that the basketball team in question was actually comprised of disabled students. Cy-Fair HS in Houston is also renowned for its special education efforts... and yet their girls' basketball team won the state championship last year.

I'm not trying to state facts for Dallas Academy or Covenant either way... I'm just saying that the Dallas Morning News article creates an allusion here that I find to be very irresponsible. Either the Dallas Academy team is disabled, and Covenant beat up on a bunch of handicapped kids... or they weren't, and they didn't. The quotation above is an inflammatory piece of "reporting".

Further, there was apparently a videotape of the game. If so, then an independent panel of high school athletic experts ought to review it, and make a statement. But judging the Covenant coach based strictly on the numbers "100-0" and the words "learning disabilities" and "winless" is weak.

Finally, here is another piece of shoddy reporting:
"Cheryl Bugg, whose daughter is one of Covenant's top players, said she didn't want to talk about the firing...
She said the parents of the team's eight players met with school officials Saturday and outlined three goals for the program: 'We want to represent Christ with the highest respect, we don't want to humiliate anyone ever and we want our students to be enthusiastic in everything they do.'"
The way this is presented in the article, it sounds like the Covenant team parents agreed with those who oppose the Covenant coach. And we don't know that that's actually the case. I can read the one parent's statement many different ways beyond "Um, the b-ball parents agree that the coach was wrong, and shame on him for humiliating the retards." Framing an ambivalent quote that way in the article was cheap.
posted by pineapple at 8:50 AM on January 27, 2009 [10 favorites]


My understanding is that he coach wasn't fired because of the game, in and of itself.

The head of the school he coaches for issued a public apology to the other team, asked their forgiveness, and asked the league authority if they could forfeit the game.

The coach the wrote an email to a local paper saying that he disagreed with the apology and defending his coaching decisions. It was after the email was published that he was fired.

To me, that seems reasonable. The Covenant School is a Christian school, and the head of the school attempted to deal with a bad situation (the game) in what he thought would be a very Christian way; apology, request for forgiveness, and an attempt to make things right. The coach disagreed with that approach, and in doing so disagreed with the school's core values.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:50 AM on January 27, 2009 [24 favorites]


Fusinski:

There are only 8 girls on the team who lost, not the team who won.
posted by The Gooch at 8:50 AM on January 27, 2009


If there is a policy of not running up the score, why no make it clearer?

It might not be explicitly spelled out in the rule book, but it's pretty much universally understood among sports people. Even professional football teams will intentionally take a knee and run out the clock near the end of a game, if their lead is insurmountable.

Of course, there are always gray areas. If the final score was 100-30, that would probably fall into this area. But 100-0? Nope. Shitty sportsmanship, pure and simple. Coach deserved to be fired.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:50 AM on January 27, 2009


The real question is, who scheduled the title-contenders against the retards?
My thought: this is an Ali G setup and no one has figured it out yet.
posted by jckll at 8:52 AM on January 27, 2009


It wasn't very Christ-like for the other NFL teams not to let the Detroit Lion's win even once this year.
posted by found missing at 8:52 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've been completely creamed in some sporting events. I've also coached some very low performance sportspeople (some with disabilities, I'm not sure how much that actually came into play here, some simply very novice against much more experienced sportspeople).

I and I'm sure anyone I've competed with would feel humiliated and patronised if there were anything equivalent to this:
'The solution is "Pass them the ball, let them take some shots, cheer them on."'

That's not to say you wouldn't relax your game and give them a more suitable challenge, as others suggest above, but unless I saw the game and understood basketball better I'd not personally be too quick to judge what happened here.
posted by edd at 8:52 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I gotta kinda agree with sfts2 on this one, I was a very average tennis player in high school and when I got blown out 6-0, 6-0 I didn't get mad at the other player for playing hard, it just motivated me to get better and not let that happen again. Still 100-0 is pretty ridiculous, kinda over the top.
posted by BrnP84 at 8:52 AM on January 27, 2009


I'm actually not convinced I think the coach did anything wrong. The people who run the special school presumably are aware that the girls basketball team is not good, and they still thought that the students would benefit from playing in a regular league, against better teams. They must have decided that their students would derive some benefit from being treated like everyone else. I think the respectful thing to do is to treat them like everyone else. That doesn't mean that you have to play your best game or drive up the score or humiliate them, but handing them the ball and letting them take shots seems like it might be a little patronizing.

I don't know. I think the real problem here is that people didn't think this through adequately ahead of time. It's not a straightforward situation. The coach should have had some support and guidance in figuring out how to deal with it.
posted by craichead at 8:53 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


The coach the wrote an email to a local paper saying that he disagreed with the apology and defending his coaching decisions. It was after the email was published that he was fired.

This is true. The coach wasn't fired for running up the score, for letting his team shoot threes well into the second half, etc. The coach was fired for refusing to apologize.
posted by inigo2 at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


It wasn't very Christ-like for the other NFL teams not to let the Detroit Lion's win even once this year.

That's not the point, and it's not a good comparison. More accurate is when a team is up big, and they're still throwing downfield -- you better believe that the rest of the league calls them out on it.
posted by inigo2 at 8:56 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christian charity is a lot like common sense, from the oxymoronic standpoint at least.
posted by tommasz at 8:56 AM on January 27, 2009


Covenant .... has informed TAPPS headquarters that it has chosen to forfeit the Dallas Academy game.

I don't know, that sounds kind of insulting to me. If I were on the team that got beaten, I don't know that I would want to be handed a pity victory, especially after such a blow out. I'd rather just forget it and move on.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:59 AM on January 27, 2009


The coach should have had some support and guidance in figuring out how to deal with it.

A sports coach at that age is supposed to instruct in sports, and be a role model. A coach that would encourage this is not a role model. A coach that explicitly can't understand what's wrong with shooting three pointers late in the game is not a role model.
posted by inigo2 at 9:00 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the Covenant team were in a very difficult position. To call off the game because the opposition are shit is arguably ruder and more humiliating than playing on and taking a 100 point win. You could argue that the rudest and most humiliating course of all would have been to finish the game but openly stop trying.

Whoever set up the game deserves some criticism, and so I think does the losing coach for complaining and suggesting his team morally deserved an easy ride (now that is poor sportsmanship) instead of teaching them that the spirit they showed in continuing to the end was more important than the score.
posted by Phanx at 9:01 AM on January 27, 2009 [16 favorites]


All I know is that I kicked ass that week in my Christian School basketball Fantasy league, baby!
posted by stifford at 9:03 AM on January 27, 2009 [25 favorites]


against the retards

umm, I don't think we use that term anymore
posted by caddis at 9:03 AM on January 27, 2009


Well the bloom is off the Obama Administration rose now, isn't it? Coach Blowout is not my new bicycle.
posted by Nelson at 9:04 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


On a side note here's a link to Dallas Academy's website. "....students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning differences." Seeing as how about 90% of the NBA appears to have dyslexia I don't think the students' disability really came into play here.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:04 AM on January 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Gooch: Well, again according to the article, they only scored 12 points in the final quarter. That's 6 2-pointers or 4 3-pointers, in what, 10 minutes? 15 minutes? That's like a basket every 2 minutes.

Anyway, the real question I have is: When did winning become something to be ashamed about? There was countless times, in every sport I played when I was a kid, that we got absolutely killed by another team. Neither my dad nor I went calling for the other coaches head, the attitude was "lets get those guys next time!"
posted by Mach5 at 9:06 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, we don't even know for a fact that the Dallas Academy team was disabled, do we? We just know that the Dallas Morning News would like us to believe that the players were disabled so that this story gets juicy, shell-shocked national attention.

So right now, use of the word "retard," whether literally or satirically, is arguably moot.
posted by pineapple at 9:06 AM on January 27, 2009


This many comments, and no one's said it yet? Do I have to do everything around here?

Fine.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by owtytrof at 9:09 AM on January 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think this story would have played out very differently in the press if the Dallas Academy had just been a very small private school, rather than one that served students with learning disabilities.

Incidentally, I looked at the Covenant School's website, and it seems to me that poor basketball sportsmanship is the least of their problems. I'm not sure what's very Christy about a $12,000-a-year private school at which less than a quarter of students receive any financial aid.
posted by craichead at 9:10 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if I were on the losing team, I think I'd feel even worse if the opposing team started working on their dribbling halfway through. That's like saying 'you guys are such shit, we're not even going to try and we'll still hold you scoreless.'
posted by echo target at 9:11 AM on January 27, 2009


Whoa there.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:12 AM on January 27, 2009


Jesus shot my 3 pointer...and, he built my hot rod.
posted by scarello at 9:12 AM on January 27, 2009


BrnP84 beat me to it. There's been a lot of slippage in this thread between "learning disability," "mental disability," and "physical disability."

From their website: "Dallas Academy restores the promise of full academic enrichment to students with learning differences. Our staff establishes a meaningful connection with each student to overcome barriers to success."
"The classes provide a quiet, nurturing environment to students who in the past have had trouble with concentration and short attention spans. Many of these boys and girls are very frustrated and have not been successful in previous school settings."

Also, this link shows the girls from the DA team. Clearly, these kids are neither physically nor mentally handicapped. These are normal kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADD. I'm sure they would not be happy to know they were being called "retards" or "handicapped."

And really, that casts the score in a very different light. It's not like Covenant was beating up on a bunch of kids in wheelchairs or people who belong in the Special Olympics. They were playing a team that is obviously not very good. The blow-out is still unfortunate, but not an extreme moral failing.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:13 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


100-0? Right on! I bet on a 100-point spread on that game!
posted by jamstigator at 9:14 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The coach the wrote an email to a local paper saying that he disagreed with the apology and defending his coaching decisions.

I read his statement as primarily a defense of the girls on the team, not his coaching decisions.

I don't think it's possible to make a good judgment on the coach's actions or his firing without more information.
posted by painquale at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2009


Is there any group left we can refer to with a crude derogatory term?

Trolls?
posted by Phanx at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Sportsmanship certainly has nothing to do with taking a dive.

Pro football teams take knees with insurmountable leads because it's not worth the risk of injury. It sure as the hell is not out of compassion for the other team's feelings.

I'm not a big fan of sports, but I'm enough of a fan that I'm not interested in seeing athletes tempered in their voracity out of concern for the feelings of their opponents. If parents are concerned about their children's feelings then I would recommend any number of non-competitive and individual sporting events like rock-wall climbing and mountain biking.

Want to talk about poor sportsmanship? Poor sportsmanship is being a sore loser. From what I've heard, the losing team are not being sore losers. They accepted the score and willed to do better next time.

The sore losers are the people who think the winning team and/or winning coach did anything other than play a game of basketball within their ability, which is all they are expected to do.

I know this isn't the NBA, but it isn't pre-school either. And this sure as shit isn't national news.

Now you done got me all riled up, MetaFilter.
posted by _aa_ at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: a failure of sportsmanship
posted by bwg at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2009


The only way to win is not to play.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Another tidbit from the Dallas Academy website: "By incorporating a strong curriculum, team sports, and a wide variety of extra curricular student activities, Dallas Academy strives to prepare our students for further study (80% to 90% of DA’s graduates attend 2- or 4-yr colleges) and, more importantly, a successful and satisfying life."

So, clearly, these aren't mentally challenged kids. They are kids who aren't great at studying and need special attention, plain and simple.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:17 AM on January 27, 2009


BrnP84, I don't think the students learning disabilities are a factor to the degree that their learning disabilities necessarily impair their ability to play (e.g. it's not like we are talking about a wheelchair basketball team playing against able bodied opponents or a group of Down syndrome kids playing against neurologically typical ones), but more that the specialized school's limited student body (only 20 girls in the entire school) prevents them from fielding a team culled solely from the absolute best players from a large sample group.
posted by The Gooch at 9:19 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pro football teams take knees with insurmountable leads because it's not worth the risk of injury.

Maybe in the final seconds. Not for the whole second half.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:19 AM on January 27, 2009


Incidentally, I looked at the Covenant School's website, and it seems to me that poor basketball sportsmanship is the least of their problems. I'm not sure what's very Christy about a $12,000-a-year private school at which less than a quarter of students receive any financial aid.

With all due respect, craichead, this point is sort of specious. Whether you personally find value in private schooling isn't germane to whether the Covenant coach did wrong in allowing a 100-0 score to mount up. And the percentage of students receiving financial aid at any given school is an issue much more complicated than "That school for privileged GotRocks is intentionally trying to keep out the poor kids!"

Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy to wade into a debate on the merits of private vs. parochial vs. public education in America with all comers. But that's for another thread; throwing it out as a drive-by moral judgment here doesn't really add to the conversation.

Also, I hate to be the one to have to say this, but in the grand scheme of school fees, $12,000 annual tuition is pretty reasonable.
posted by pineapple at 9:20 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can someone please tell us if the team that lost was full of disabled kids? Because it sounds to me like they just played a team of normal students, but they keep bringing up "disabled" over and over again because they want people to feel sorry for the losing team by proxy or something.

Which is complete and utter horseshit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:21 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


the specialized school's limited student body (only 20 girls in the entire school) prevents them from fielding a team culled solely from the absolute best players from a large sample group.

That's an administrative decision. The basketball coach of the opponent against whom Dallas Academy willfully elected to compete shouldn't be held responsible for that.
posted by pineapple at 9:22 AM on January 27, 2009


It would be really super-fucking-keen if some of you wouldn't try to make this into a political or religious issue. Don't you ever bore of trying to cram everything in life into your little magic political pigeon-holing decoder rings?

__________

This is sports and only a sports issue. And I've heard a lot about it on the local news. From what I can gather, what happened is that Covenant has an excellent point guard who was just stealing the inbound passes and getting layups. Apparently Dallas Academy had difficulty even getting past half court. The Coach for Dallas Academy saw this as an opportunity to teach his girls about the value of never giving up no matter how badly you are being beaten. He spoke of his pride in his team after the game in how they kept trying and never gave up. So you have the point guard going for her personal record, the Covenant team trying to set a record, and Dallas Academy trying to show they never quit. That's how you end up at 100-0 and not 50-0.

I'm in the camp that the better lesson should have been sportsmanship. I think that everyone got caught up in the moment and lost sight of perspective. The point guard wanted to set her personal bests. The Covenant team wanted to try to get to 100 and saw that as an accomplishment. People are always wanting to set records. The Dallas Academy team wanted to get a mini-victory of stopping them from reaching the goal and wanted the pride of never giving up. What should have happened is that the Covenant coaches should have been thinking in a broader perspective and realized that individual glory is less important than sportsmanship. The Dallas Academy coach should have realized that "keep fighting" is not a be-all-end-all. If they would not have been lost in the moment, this would not have happened.
posted by dios at 9:22 AM on January 27, 2009 [15 favorites]


Coach Crucified for Failure to be Christ-Like
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Firing the coach because he won? How un-Texas like.
These schools have pregame prayers where they will ask God/Jesus to help them play their best play fair etc. Obviously either the winning teams prayers were heard or the losing team has lost God's favor, their learning disabilities may be a clue.
posted by pianomover at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there any group left we can refer to with a crude derogatory term?

The Dutch.

They did it to themselves, really.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2009


It's Woodstock compared to the Boy Scouts

Whatever societal problems and grudges that have been imported from your neighbourhoods into your scouting groups has nothing to do with the movement as a whole.

I am a Chief Scout in Canada, where we place a little more emphasis on human rights. Here we have openly gay scout troops not just members.

Scouting was more important to my personal development than any other part of my education and development, including University. I am quite literally a card-carrying socialist and the implication that scouting is fascist is malicious, false and defamatory.
posted by Deep Dish at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2009 [11 favorites]


And really, that casts the score in a very different light. It's not like Covenant was beating up on a bunch of kids in wheelchairs or people who belong in the Special Olympics. They were playing a team that is obviously not very good. The blow-out is still unfortunate, but not an extreme moral failing.

I don't really think this story actually has anything to do with mental retardation or physical disabilities. Sure, if they were handicapped, that would sour the story even more, but this is high school. 100-0 should not happen. It just shouldn't. At halftime, coach of winning team notices, hmm, the other team hasn't scored a SINGLE point. Perhaps I'll walk over to the other team's coach, be friendly, offer to end the game there. I'm not sure if that fits the rules, but also, I don't care. Because it is true that being the winning team in this kind of situation is awkward as well, and ending the game is good for everyone. For the losing team - a little embarrassment over a cancelled game? Sure. More embarrassment over a national news story, fired coach, etc? I'd say so.
posted by ORthey at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I've played high school (JV/V) sports and college (club and varsity). And unless the coach and players of the losing team said they wanted the game to go on. . . this is crappy. Special needs is irrelevant, it's just bad sportsmanship. They could have easily called the game at half time. And if they were really playing for the love of the game, the best solution would have been to mix the two teams after that and scrimmage the second half. That way the losing team would get some experience with better players and everyone would get a better game out of it.
posted by synapse at 9:25 AM on January 27, 2009


Can someone please tell us if the team that lost was full of disabled kids? Because it sounds to me like they just played a team of normal students, but they keep bringing up "disabled" over and over again because they want people to feel sorry for the losing team by proxy or something.

Which is complete and utter horseshit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:21 AM on January 27


Yeah, that is part of the problem with the outrage. From what I heard on the local radio station, the most that the kids are disabled is maybe having ADD or dyslexia. They may have some "learning differences"; they are not physically or mentally disabled.

It's not like a team just put up 100 on a special Olympics team.
posted by dios at 9:26 AM on January 27, 2009


100-0? Right on! I bet on a 100-point spread on that game!

That's a push, so depending upon how much you bet, you may be emulating Christ yourself...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:27 AM on January 27, 2009


I want to see the school leaders take some responsibility here, not just scapegoat the coach.
posted by crapmatic at 9:28 AM on January 27, 2009


Can someone please tell us if the team that lost was full of disabled kids?

Answering my own question because of the ambiguity of the article. According to the Dallas Academy's website, it appears they specialize in helping children that have trouble in traditional classroom settings (dyslexia, dysgraphia, and "other learning differences").

So it would appear DA and Covenant teams were matched with at least physically capable opponents.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:29 AM on January 27, 2009


What is the purpose of putting on a "sport event" if you're supposed to take it easy, or instill others with a (false) sense of achievement. This is horseshit.

This reminds of the the "everyone's a winner" nonsense that has permeated so much of society. George Carlin said it best; there are no stupid people anymore, everyone has a "learning disorder"; we don't have short people, they're "vertically challenged", people aren't ugly they have "a severe appearance deficit".

Newsflash: a team with talent squashed a team that had no business COMPETING (you know, the basic precept of fucking sports). So basically the coach got fired for not pandering to the self-esteem of people who couldn't meet the challenge of a game of sports. Congratulations; let's make sure to file down any rough edges in the school, issue students a fucking safety pencil and mandate only circles of paper.

Apparently sucking at sports is no longer anyone's fault, except those who defeat you. Brilliant. In that case, I can only assume that they'll call off the NHL play-offs and just hand the Stanley Cup over to bottom teams in each division -- THAT'S WHAT JESUS WOULD DO!

*sings* cleaning my gun with the safety off!!
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:29 AM on January 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pack in a 2-3 zone and let the kids who are down 70-0 shoot a few shots from the perimeter. The fact that they kept pressing and only let the poor team shoot seven shots the entire game? Pitiful. This isn't the Detroit Lions or even college sports. This is high school athletics, and one school was fielding a team from a talent pool of 20. This is like driving on a highway when you see a row of ducks crossing the road, and you just continue along at 55mph and run them all over. But officer, I was going the speed limit!! Okay, d-bag, but it wouldn't have killed you to slow down, let the ducks cross, and then continue on your merry way.
posted by billysumday at 9:30 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, dios, missed your reply.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:30 AM on January 27, 2009


If I were on the losing team, I think ending the game early would be the absolute worst thing to do. Think about it, it sucks to lose 100-0, but it would suck even more to lose 59-0, knowing that you might have scored a few points if you'd been given another half to try. Obviously, this could have been handled better, but I don't think telling the losing team they're not even good enough to try is the answer.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:31 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why is everyone is letting the cheerleaders off the hook here?
posted by found missing at 9:32 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


It would be really super-fucking-keen if some of you wouldn't try to make this into a political or religious issue.
I think it became a religious issue when the Headmaster of the Covenant Academy issued a press release saying that the coach was fired for not being "Christ-like." If you don't want your religion brought into the discussion, don't bring it into the discussion. Once you put it there, it's there.
posted by craichead at 9:32 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I agree with those who say there is more honor given to the losing team by not patronizing them. Pass them the ball and cheer when they take a shot? If I was on the other team I'd take that as an intentional "Fuck you", where just being better than me isn't intentionally humiliating - it's just the nature of sport.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:32 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


This story is ludicrous. Jesus didn't know the first thing about basketball. He was a soccer man/holy ghost through and through. You know, Jesus saves...

.. but Peter Shilton was better
posted by MuffinMan at 9:33 AM on January 27, 2009


there are no stupid people anymore, everyone has a "learning disorder"
You seriously aren't aware of the difference between being stupid and having a learning disability?
posted by craichead at 9:33 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, not everything in life is symbolic of how kids are soft nowadays and in the olden tymes people were tough and, hell, we woulda whooped those whippersnappers 200-0!! Sometimes it's simply an idiot coach not realizing he's being an idiot until it's too late, and he's fired. People who play/follow sports know that even in the uber-competitive realm of top 25 basketball and pro football and every other sport where lots of money exchanges hands, teams that go up a disproportionate amount put in their reserves and are explicitly told not to run up the score. It's sportsmanship 101.
posted by billysumday at 9:34 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


At halftime, coach of winning team notices, hmm, the other team hasn't scored a SINGLE point. Perhaps I'll walk over to the other team's coach, be friendly, offer to end the game there. I'm not sure if that fits the rules, but also, I don't care.

As noted above, not the coach's decision but the ref's. It appears that, at least according to some, the team did ease up once it became clear that their opponents had no chance. I'm not saying that bad decisions weren't made, but it is not a huge deal and the coach does not deserve firing unless he's molesting his players. In middle school I played on the JV basketball team, and we sucked horribly, never winning a game the entire year I was on the squad. I can't remember any specific scores, but I know that we got blown out of the water many, many times. 100-0? No, but 70-20? Yeah, scores like that. Embarrassing, but never made the news because no one felt the need to complain about it. With regards to this story, it seems like the people complaining most about the score aren't even affiliated with the teams. The losing girls seem to have taken it in stride, and the winning school seems embarrassed by the national coverage and is trying to cover their ass.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:34 AM on January 27, 2009


Christ played basketball?

That's why the pastor says "Let's put some more in the basket" every Sunday.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:37 AM on January 27, 2009


When did winning become something to be ashamed about?

Well, now that the binary view has been fully aired, here's a more nuanced way to frame this . . .

When I was in junior high, I was on our boys' basketball team and we were the league powerhouse. We had a centre who'd not only shot up a good six inches past the next tallest kid in the league, but he'd been going to the gym daily to shoot hoops, plus this was a Canadian military base in northern Alberta that hosted a huge multiweek military exercise every year, and these US military ex-college ballers would take over the gym during that period, and our centre and a few others had learned a ton from playing pick-up ball with them. I mean, he was averaging 40 points a game easy in games where the winning team usually only scored 50-60 max.

As a point guard, my job consisted mainly of dribbling to mid-court and tossing the ball in his general vicinity at the top of the key. It was the only time in my youth sports career I was on the undisputed powerhouse, and it was indeed all kinds of fun.

So one game, we're playing a small rural school, and by halftime I think we were up by 50 points. Our coach - who was a Canadian military firefighter, not that that particularly matters - put in the second stringers and told us to ease up, I think it was five passes before anyone could shoot, and no hard drives to the basket. He left the star centre in for part of the second half under strict instructions to not shoot at all (in retrospect, I think he did this so as not to insult our opponents by blatantly benching our best guy).

The game carried on, and I think our opponents scored a few more than they did the first half, and I believe with just a few minutes left it was eightysomething to 25 or about that. We on the court were kinda giddy about the idea of scoring 100 points. Our coach called a timeout and read us the riot act. The score goes over 90, he said, and he'd forfeit the game. He told us to keep playing, move the ball, whatever, but no shots. He used the word "class" repeatedly, and I never forgot what it meant after that.

I don't remember the details of any other game we played that year except the district championship. And that's definitely the only lasting lesson of my couple years in junior high ball before my lack of a sufficient growth spurt benched me for good.

That, I submit, is great coaching.
posted by gompa at 9:37 AM on January 27, 2009 [59 favorites]


So basically the coach got fired for not pandering to the self-esteem of people who couldn't meet the challenge of a game of sports.

The way I see it, the coach got fired for the reason that DWRoelands clearly offered upthread: "The head of the school he coaches for issued a public apology to the other team, asked their forgiveness, and asked the league authority if they could forfeit the game. The coach the wrote an email to a local paper saying that he disagreed with the apology and defending his coaching decisions. It was after the email was published that he was fired."

If I'm the headmaster of the school and I make an authoritative PR decision about this 100-0 game that I feel is in the best interest of my school, I damn well expect the coach to get on board -- whether or not he agrees with my decision. That's why I'm the headmaster and he's not.

If the coach wants to go tell his sob story to the newspaper, he can feel free -- but I'm not obligated to let him keep his job after he goes behind the school's back to slam the institution while defending himself.
posted by pineapple at 9:38 AM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


I think it became a religious issue when the Headmaster of the Covenant Academy issued a press release saying that the coach was fired for not being "Christ-like."

Uh, no it did not. This game is not reflective on religion in the least other than the fact that the people playing the game may have come from a religion. Just as it would not be reflective on private schools or Texans or Americans or females under the age of 18 or any other demographic applicable to these people.

And, if you bother to read the article, you might figure out that "the coach was fired for not being "Christ-like" is incorrect. He was fired for criticizing the administration for apologizing and saying he rejected the apology. It would be no different than if the school said it was "unsportsman like" and the coach replied "I reject that position; I think it is sportsmanlike." That is why he was fired.

So please, keep the religious and political hobby horses out of this topic.
posted by dios at 9:38 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I understand in perfectly Craichead:

The people who set this train wreck up were stupid. The kids at the one school had learning disabilities.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:38 AM on January 27, 2009


You seriously aren't aware of the difference between being stupid and having a learning disability?

Considering I was quoting George Carlin, I'm wondering which of those two categories you fall into? It's a bit of hyperbole; for such an over-the-top topic as coach being fired for not letting talentless opponents score free points.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:38 AM on January 27, 2009


I don't know if Christ played basketball or not, but the crucifix was regulation height.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:39 AM on January 27, 2009


[A couple comments removed. Please cut that shit out.]
posted by cortex at 9:40 AM on January 27, 2009


Metafilter: It's not very Christ-like.
posted by disillusioned at 9:40 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


At halftime, coach of winning team notices, hmm, the other team hasn't scored a SINGLE point. Perhaps I'll walk over to the other team's coach, be friendly, offer to end the game there. I'm not sure if that fits the rules, but also, I don't care.

Learning disabilities =! unable to play basketball competitively.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:42 AM on January 27, 2009


oops, wrong quote. My last post was in reference to Kid Charlemagne's "The people who set this train wreck up were stupid. The kids at the one school had learning disabilities."
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:43 AM on January 27, 2009


This game is not reflective on religion in the least other than the fact that the people playing the game may have come from a religion.
The game is not a reflection on religion. The subsequent discussion is about religion, because Christ is a religious figure. If you have a problem with the discussion taking a religious turn, I recommend you take it up with the Covenant School, since they're the ones who brought religion into the discussion. When you announce that a coach is being fired for behavior that is insufficiently "Christ-like," you raise the question of what "Christ-like" means in the context of high school sports in general and high school sports leagues comprised of expensive prep schools in particular.
posted by craichead at 9:46 AM on January 27, 2009


It seems like some people participating in this thread are making a false dichotomy where the only two possible options here were either A) Honoring the spirit of competition/not being patronizing to the Dallas Academy team/not giving in to the sissification of modern society by having the Covenant team play at full ability for the entire length of the game or B) have the Covenant team blatantly stop trying in an embarrassing and obvious way and let the Dallas Academy players take free pity shots the remainder of the game.

As if slightly easing up your intensity level once it was obvious the other team didn't stand a chance isn't a viable option C.
posted by The Gooch at 9:47 AM on January 27, 2009


Learning disabilities =! unable to play basketball competitively.

Everyone knows that the best way to overcome adversity is to use it as a crutch. It's much easier than, you know, trying to better yourself or focus on other pursuits that may be more realistic.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:47 AM on January 27, 2009


I seriously want to see what the other games against this school look like. I'm having so much trouble imagining a game that's not one of the following:

1. A squash.
2. A humiliating experience in which the opposing team babies them through the whole game.
3. #1, except without shooting the ball; i.e., a big game of keepaway.

#1 seems like the least humiliating option to me.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:48 AM on January 27, 2009


This comes from trying to figure out "What would Jesus do?" in a situation that never could have arisen 2000 years ago. Jesus did lots of things that involved interacting with the poor and downtrodden (that is, if you believe he ever existed) but he never spent any time concerning himself with team sports. Not basketball. Not high school basketball. Not girl's high school basketball. Jesus H. Christ has fuck all to do with such things.

If people want to stand around and argue about how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin, or how many angels it takes to wrestle a demon, or what Jesus would do as the coach of a girl's high school basketball team that is creaming the opposition, that's fine in theory, but nobody's job should depend on the answer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:49 AM on January 27, 2009


As noted above, not the coach's decision but the ref's.

Yeah, officially. But also officially, 100-0 games don't happen almost ever. So maybe, go talk to the ref? Again, this is high school. Let the rule slide a bit maybe when massive embarrassment is teeming.
posted by ORthey at 9:51 AM on January 27, 2009


Actually, I just changed my mind. Dark Messiah made me realize how obnoxious my argument sounded.

There would have been a million ways to play the game respectfully. Running around blowharding about "talentless opponents" is certainly not one of them.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:53 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why didn't the other team just quit? Why is it the responsibility of the winning team to end a lopsided game? That's what I don't get. If the other team's coach asked to end the game and the coach said "no! I am going to show you what a beating feels like I hope your team loves crying because that's what they're going to do!" then I could understand. He didn't though. He might be kind of a jerk but I think the coach of the terrible team is the real heel in this story.
posted by I Foody at 9:56 AM on January 27, 2009


Kid Charlemagne was responding to my post, Saxon Kane, and I was responding to Dark Messiah's post which implied that "learning disability" is just a new-fangled, self-esteem-protecting euphemism for "stupid." It's not, and only a really ignorant or really obnoxious person would claim that it was.
posted by craichead at 9:56 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


In highschool I was on the soccer team. Being a small school our sports teams were only competitive when we happened to have a genuinely gifted natural athlete and basically entirely useless otherwise. Anyway the year I played we had one or two guys who were just astonishingly good so we were able to give much larger teams a run for their money and we occasionally won a game. But most of the time we lost.

Then a school that had never had a team before joined the league at the last minute and our last game of the year was with them. Now, given that we had two really competent players (including our goalie who played an entire half with a broken collarbone) and they had basically never kicked a ball in anger we knew we were going to win. This was exciting as we didn't have a stellar record.

It became clear after a few minutes that we were not only going to win but that we were going to win by however many shots we decided to take, it was a comically bad matchup.

Our coach made it abundantly clear that we were not going to win by a blowout. He pulled our good players to defence put the weaker string (read: me) up front and told us to focus on passing and footwork instead of shooting. We switched goalies about a dozen times. The ref called our mistakes like a nazi and looked the other way when the other team made little mistakes.

We won. 2-1 maybe, it was a while ago. But we had a fantastic game. I got to play offense which was not going to happen otherwise, our good players got to take it easy and show off a bit.

Anyway, my point is that amateur sports should be fun.
posted by Skorgu at 9:57 AM on January 27, 2009 [11 favorites]


If you have a problem with the discussion taking a religious turn, I recommend you take it up with the Covenant School, since they're the ones who brought religion into the discussion. When you announce that a coach is being fired for behavior that is insufficiently "Christ-like," you raise the question of what "Christ-like" means in the context of high school sports in general and high school sports leagues comprised of expensive prep schools in particular.

First of all, the coach was not fired for not being "Christ-like." The school's statement was that the win was not very Christ-like.

The reason that this isn't actually a religious issue is that it honestly doesn't matter what the school's particular debated value is. Maybe with Covenant it's called "being Christ-like." Maybe at another school, it's called the "Honor Code", or "the natural rhythms of everyday life," or "Esteemed Founder Dr. B.K. McGillicuddy's Rules For Good Children", or some other wholly secular concept.

Ultimately, the point is that any given private school operates and was likely founded on [$VALUE], and any faculty member that they hire is expected to adhere to it, and is surely informed of it and is measured on [$VALUE] during their hiring process.

If an employee is found behaving in a way that is questionably anti-[$VALUE], the school has every right (and, a business responsibility, I would further argue), to call the behavior out.

That the word "Christ" appears inside Covenant's [$VALUE] doesn't make this a de facto religious conversation.
posted by pineapple at 9:59 AM on January 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Dallas Academy hasn't won a game in four seasons, and "in most games, they haven't come close." According to a comment here, they've lost games 41-8, 49-7, 55-6, and 66-4. Why is this game a special case when the team gets blown out on a regular basis? Is it the 100 points or the zero that's the problem? The score was 25-0 three minutes into the game, so it could've reached 100-0 in the first quarter and was on pace for a 400-0 final score (assuming 12-minute quarters).

"This is what it came down to in the second half: steal at half court and layup. Steal and layup. Steal and layup. It was a layup drill." Basketball players are allowed--in fact, they're encouraged--to take care of the ball and play defense.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 AM on January 27, 2009


Running around blowharding about "talentless opponents" is certainly not one of them.

Do you have some other descriptor for a team that, throughout an entire game, scores zero points? Talentless seems pretty respectful to my eyes. They demonstrably have no talent for the game. I'm not judging their character, or any other attributes; in the context of High School basketball, they obviously have no talent. Unless of course they wanted to scrap the game ahead of time on the inkling that they might suddenly develop bad-at-basketball-itis.

Call it "blowharding" all you want. Facts are facts; team A supremely outclassed team B. Thus, I am questioning the "talent" (or lack thereof) of the losers losing team team that did not win.

Is that suitably sanitized for you?
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:01 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was a pretty good wrestler in high school. Sophomore year, I was splitting time between JV and Varsity matches. We would juggle the line-up and sometimes I'd wrestle the varsity 141-lb match, sometimes not, depending on the opponent and the health of our team. One of my last JV matches, I had to wrestle a kid that had a congenitally malformed arm. He was about 5 inches taller than me (not generally a Good Thing in wrestling) and looked to be over-matched, as I had varsity experience on one of the area's best teams. My coach says, "Go out there and wrestle that kid." He knew I was probably a little concerned, and that was his way of letting me know that this was the sporting thing to do. The only thing to do in that situation. Do not fuck around–treat him with respect and beat his ass. That's what I did. He lasted like 1:15, not too bad actually as he was on his back inside of 15 seconds. The kid had heart.
posted by Mister_A at 10:02 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone knows that the best way to overcome adversity is to use it as a crutch. It's much easier than, you know, trying to better yourself or focus on other pursuits that may be more realistic.


To be fair, Dark Messiah, neither the Dallas Academy nor the girls on their team seem to be attempting to use their learning disabilities as an excuse for their loss. In fact, from what I can gather from the school and its students, they would be horrified by such a move; from what I've seen, they are saying, "Yeah, we lost. It was a blow-out. We'll do better next time." No, it's the media that seems to be subtly implying that the Covenant school was beating up on a Special Olympics basketball squad.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:05 AM on January 27, 2009


I have to agree with others saying there's no failure in sportsmanship winning 100-0 against a completely outclassed team. Good sportsmanship is going out and playing your best against your opponent within the rules of the game, and accepting the outcome.

In this case, "good coaching" would not have been any sort of "let the wookiee win." It would have been "Keep playing your best otherwise, but be sure not to hurt yourselves or the other players, and do your best not to foul at all."

On the other side, good coaching would mean not fielding a team that includes girls that, from one article, had never played basketball before that game. The person to end this was the losing coach, who must surely have had it within his power to simply forfeit the game at any point by pulling his players.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:06 AM on January 27, 2009


"On the other side, Dallas Academy coach Charles Brown said he found the loss "very depressing. Even more depressing because it was so unsurprising". He did say that after a long post-game bath, he's decided to keep coaching, though he may return to coaching baseball."
posted by happyroach at 10:06 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


You seriously aren't aware of the difference between being stupid and having a learning disability?

If you thought that this thread had any chance of happening without at least one baggadouché railing against PLITIC'L KRECTNESS, you're a more optimistic man than I.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:07 AM on January 27, 2009


I'm not interested in seeing athletes tempered in their voracity out of concern for the feelings of their opponents.

So basically the coach got fired for not pandering to the self-esteem of people who couldn't meet the challenge of a game of sports.

What is the purpose of putting on a "sport event" if you're supposed to take it easy, or instill others with a (false) sense of achievement. This is horseshit.


YEAH! And since sports are sort of replacements for war, we should go about that the same way: If we're at war with a country, they are FUCKED. Civilians? Women? Children? Destroy ALL OF THEM. Show no mercy. Leave no one standing.

Sports should be about building character? About teaching people to have respect for others, even in the face of competition? So that maybe, if we can understand that all people are worthy of some measure of dignity, we can learn how to find ways to deal with people of other beliefs OTHER than war? Pfft. Fuck that. Commence the slaughter.
posted by nushustu at 10:08 AM on January 27, 2009


Mister_A: Agreed. I seriously wonder what good can come from filling someone with a false sense of accomplishment by kid-gloving them. All that does is set someone up for bigger failure, when they (inevitably) run into someone who really could care less -- because they're in it for the competition.

Yes, it's a little disheartening to have to compete against someone who "shouldn't be there" (at least from the outset), but then they have the opportunity to either better themselves or realize "this is not the competition I can handle".

I wrestled in high school. I was decent at it, but my size (6'1", 180 lbs.) ensured I would be battling it out with shorter, more muscular, older kids. As such, I got my ass whooped. It's not my fault they were better than me; I can whine and complain about how I was big for my age (and really uncoordinated thanks to a massive growth spurt), but that doesn't change the fact that I was unable to compete with far more skilled wrestlers.

So I quit the wrestling team after a year and pursued things I had a better aptitude for. It's that frigging simple.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:09 AM on January 27, 2009


there are no stupid people anymore, everyone has a "learning disorder"

You seriously aren't aware of the difference between being stupid and having a learning disability?


I don't know if that's one of those false attributions that get forwarded around, but that sounds like something Carlin would have said. I think it's been long enough since his death now that we can all acknowledge what an awful, choir-preaching hack he was in his later years.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:13 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Dark Messiah, neither the Dallas Academy nor the girls on their team seem to be attempting to use their learning disabilities as an excuse for their loss.

And I can totally respect that. My aim with that comment is more at the people (who often have no disability) who seem to think that anyone with a "problem" is some pathetic snow-flake who can't possibly handle the rigors of the real world. That just pisses me off.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:14 AM on January 27, 2009


Gompa
I favorited your comment so hard, I tore the rim off the backboard.

Thanks for describing the proper way to coach.
posted by cjets at 10:14 AM on January 27, 2009


Not only was firing him the correct move he should also be forced to play Kobe Bryant one on one for a whole hour no matter what the score. What a dick.
posted by zzazazz at 10:14 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another thing, High School Sports coaches are not professional coaches in any reasonable sense of the word. While they do get paid, for the most part they are just teachers. Not sure about parochial schools in Texas but in public schools in CT they make about 4k per season, which works out to about $5 an hour. For what its worth...
posted by sfts2 at 10:16 AM on January 27, 2009


but that sounds like something Carlin would have said. I think it's been long enough since his death now that we can all acknowledge what an awful, choir-preaching hack he was in his later years.

It's from his bit regarding "Euphemistic Language" from Doin' It Again circa 1990.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:17 AM on January 27, 2009


Am I in fucking bizarro-world, or are most people in the thread actually agreeing that this guy is an asshole and should be fired? What. The. Fuck. It's a sport... expecting to be molly-coddled because you suck, THAT is the poor sportsmanship. The losing team's coach is the one in the wrong.... when the game is that far lost, you should concede.

It seems many people think it would reflect better on the winning team if the winning team spent the 2nd half embarassing them by dribbling circles around them and intentionally not shooting. If I were on the losing team I would find that horribly embarassing, much worse than having the score run up against me.

THIS is the entire problem with our culture. People just want to be humored, patronized, catered to... it's all about perception, not reality.

Fucking disgusting.
posted by autodidact at 10:20 AM on January 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


CJets is correct. Gompa's comment is spot on.
posted by zzazazz at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2009


THE COACH WASN'T FIRED FOR THE SCORE OR THE GAME.

THE COACH WAS FIRED FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE SCHOOL TO THE PRESS.



The irony that this thread is arguing the athletic skills of a bunch of kids who apparently can't read is not lost on me, at least.
posted by pineapple at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


THE COACH WAS FIRED FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE SCHOOL TO THE PRESS.

Guess what the catalyst was? He spoke out because it's a ridiculous stance to take; apologizing for something as inane as beating another team at a game.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:23 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


C'mon, Autodidcat, there is a huge difference between losing and getting your spirit crushed. A coach like Gompa's actually helps both teams improve by allowing the winning team to learn sportsmanship and work on passing and giving the second string some playing time while allowing the losing team to work on its skills in a game environment. I don't see how that is so hard to understand.
posted by zzazazz at 10:25 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


some playing time while allowing the losing team to work on its skills in a game environment. I don't see how that is so hard to understand

What's hard to understand is how useful kid-glove training is going to be? If you're not competing against someone at their best, you're practicing. That's what you do before the game, not during it.

You want to help them out; offer to bring them into your training sessions. Don't pat them on the head and patronize them.

I'd rather be blown out of the water, and see how much I really need to improve, rather than be treated like a charity case. How hard is it to observe proper technique when clearly said technique is winning the game.

It's not sportsmanship, it's bargain basement self-congratulation. "We're so good we don't even have to try now". Sportsmanship is playing fairly and respectfully, not lowering your standards based on your competition.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:30 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Guess what the catalyst was? He spoke out because it's a ridiculous stance to take; apologizing for something as inane as beating another team at a game.

So, you're saying that Micah Grimes (who was essentially an independent contractor brought in to coach Covenant's girls BB team, according to the DMN story) made a public statement that he knew he wasn't authorized to make, and even acknowledged at the time that he would possibly lose his job over it...

but he still doesn't deserve to have been fired for that action,

because you think the school's position regarding sportsmanship is "ridiculous" and "inane."

Am I reading that correctly?
posted by pineapple at 10:31 AM on January 27, 2009


Am I in fucking bizarro-world [snip]

Yes. You are reading a 100+ comment thread on Metafilter about sports.
It's like watching a 2-hour Lifetime mocumentary about the Dunkirk Evacuation.
If you came into this thread expecting to do anything other than tear the hair out of your head, you are officially not a soothsayer.
posted by jckll at 10:33 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Never play full retarded.
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


She said the parents of the team's eight players met with school officials Saturday and outlined three goals for the program:

"We want to represent Christ with the highest respect, we don't want to humiliate anyone ever and we want our students to be enthusiastic in everything they do."



So rename the team "The Disciples" and teach the girls to cheerfully lose every game.
posted by terranova at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2009


Wait a sec, were the kids retarded. Maybe I should slow down when I RTFA?
posted by autodidact at 10:35 AM on January 27, 2009


Gompa's example showed what a positive a great coach can be, but his approach was nuanced and it seems as though the coach in question took some steps to mitigate the blowout. Now I can assume that being a coach at a parochial school in Texas, that I will not have much in common or want to hang out with the coach in question, but firing him because of this is silly. Firing him for publicly advocating against the stated policies of the school, well, that is fine and to be expected I think.
posted by sfts2 at 10:36 AM on January 27, 2009


Don King voice: Tonight, it's Mike Tyson against a gaggle of retarded schoolgirls! It's retarded fury!
/Greg Proops
posted by autodidact at 10:36 AM on January 27, 2009


Dark Messiah, they are still going to get blown out of the water no matter what (check out Gompa's post) but 100-0 doesn't help anybody in that building.
posted by zzazazz at 10:36 AM on January 27, 2009


Am I in fucking bizarro-world, or are most people in the thread actually agreeing that this guy is an asshole and should be fired? What. The. Fuck. It's a sport... expecting to be molly-coddled because you suck, THAT is the poor sportsmanship.

Running the full court press on a team with 5 minutes left when you're beating them 90-0 so you can reach 100 is poor sportsmanship. Period.

You can ease up on a team when you're beating the shit out of them. NBA coaches regularly put in their reserves and ease up when a game is out of reach. And these are paid professionals. Why wouldn't a high school coach do this?

Please tell me how a 70 or 80 point victory is "molly coddling" the other team. And then please explain how scoring 100 against an obviously overmatched opponent is an accomplishment that the winning team should be proud of.
posted by cjets at 10:37 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


pineapple: Yes, I think the school's stance on sportsmanship is inane and ridiculous. I'd go further, but that's not neccessary. Sportsmanship means "fairness in following the rules of the game" and losing gracefully. There is nothing relating to sportsmanship that applies to the game in question. They didn't cheat to win 100-0. If anything, the administration doesn't know how to WIN gracefully. Essentially they're saying "we're sorry your school is so bad at this game, we shouldn't have even played against you you're so bad, and we're doubly sorry that the scoreboard highlighted the overall lack of skill on your basketball team".

I think it's stupid to fire the coach over it because I disagree with their childish, nonsense definition of sportsmanship. Sure, he knew the risks speaking out; and I'd argue he has more integrity than the entire administration that fired him.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:38 AM on January 27, 2009


The coach did nothing wrong in coaching this game, at least not anything worth firing him over. It is not unsportsman like to win. It's not even unsportsman like to win by a huge margin. Now if you're ragging on the other team and saying mean things about their mom, that's unsportsman like. If the coach was encouraging his team from the side lines by talking down the other team, that's unsportsman like.

I've played sports and I've won and I've lost, and I've lost big. Some people are better than you and that's all there is to it. You don't like it? Practice harder. I would be significantly more insulted and put off by the guys who kicked my teams ass apologizing and asking for the game to not count, than I would be if they just kicked my ass. First you beat me, then you say I can't lose to you either?

You want to help my team out of a sense of sportsmanship? Set up scrimmage games between official games, lets do a group training camp. But on game day, lets play the fucking game.
Besides it's just a game, it's not like they are denying the other team basic human rights or something.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:38 AM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's obvious that Covenant's players prayed to God and Dallas Academy's prayed to Dog.

There's your problem right there.
posted by theroadahead at 10:40 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wasn't going to get sucked into this thread, but I couldn't help notice that "winning gracefully" is conspicuously absent from your definition of good sportsmanship, Dark Messiah.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:41 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ played basketball?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:20 AM on January 27 [5 favorites +] [!]

You never watched him play? It was back in the 70's. I think his nick was Jesus "Miracle Man" Christ. Being only 5'5 you would have thought it was a disadvantage. Hell no, JC didn't let that get him down. Averaging 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 25 points, and 3 block shots a game with a career 95% shooting average, some say he was one of the greatest to ever play the game. His biggest highlight was when he was playing against the Deep South Devils. During a fast break a devil's fan threw a full beer onto the floor right in front of JC. There was a huge puddle of liquid. Instead of slipping, JC ran right across it and was the first player ever to shatter a backboard. His career was ended rather prematurely by an ex-team mate Judas Jones. But that is a sad story that involves, whips, nails, and a large letter "t" After that fateful Friday Jesus was never the same. He retired from the game and went onto be the radio voice of the Portland Trail Blazer for a few years. Last time I checked he sometimes does fills in on TNT when Charles Bentley is sick.

As for a score of 100-0 not being Christ like, this is completely true! JC would have ran the score up to at least 200-0.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:41 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


On post-view: with respect to the players and coach, not "the administration," obviously.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:42 AM on January 27, 2009


According to the linked article, the coach of the winning team put his bench in the game (he only had three bench players). I think it is fair to say that the coach could perhaps have reined the team in a bit more than that, but I'm telling you, it's way more humiliating to have to endure the other team doing passing drills for 20 minutes than it is to watch them continue to play the game and run you over. When you're getting crushed, any little thing you do is a huge positive. If you manage to steal the ball or defend a shot, you feel great about it! If the other team is refusing to shoot and handing you the ball, you feel like crap. I mean, go ahead and do a 5-pass rule or something like that, but don't just stop playing, and don't turn it into a practice.

Beyond that why are these girls playing in the league at all? Who can benefit from this? They haven't won a game in at least 4 years, and are crushed every time out. This should be a developmental intramural team, not a regular league team. So, while I may have handled things a little differently, my approach would be fundamentally the same. If you do not go out and play the game, it's a slap in the face to the opposing program.

I don't think the team should have to forfeit, and I don't think the coach should have been fired. I believe that he could have put a lid on the score a little bit, but you can't just stop playing, or play keep-away for a half, as that is far more humiliating than losing 100-0.
posted by Mister_A at 10:47 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


C'mon, Autodidcat, there is a huge difference between losing and getting your spirit crushed.

But we don't know that the other team got their spirits crushed. I don't think you can comment on sportsmanship or lack thereof just from the fact that there was a blowout. You need to know the attitudes of the two teams towards the game. The losing coach said that it wasn't surprising that it was a blow-out. Obviously they knew they were likely going to lose. So they probably set different goals. It is not impossible for me to imagine that the losing team still had a good time trying to figure out how to play against a much better team.

Dios above mentioned that the losing coach has said that he was trying to teach his players never to give up. There's value in this. If I played tennis against Agassi, I wouldn't want him to ease up -- I'd want him to play as normal, because I'd be thrilled if I could return a single serve. The losing team in this basketball game could have taken the same attitude. Good sportsmanship does not just mean making games close. You only show lack of sportsmanship if you make the game an absolute waste of the other team's time. Being a sportsman means respecting the other players in competition, and what that amounts to depends entirely on the context of the game and tacit understandings between the teams. There isn't enough information that I've seen here to decide if that happened or not. Especially when there's so much misinformation about learning disabilities and such going around.
posted by painquale at 10:48 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


My rural Pee-Wee Pop Warner team was terrible. In the two years I suited up we managed to TIE a single game, 12-12. (Pee-Wee Pop Warner kickers are awful.) That tie came against the other backwoods team in the league and those kids from the reservation at least managed a win or two against the respectable teams. All our other games were 36 to 6 blowouts. Or worse.

During one particularly brutal pummeling dished out by the boys from Arcata or Eureka, our team suffered three or four injuries, putting us down to 12 or 13 healthy players. We played on while the other team's bench warmers continued to run up the score. 24-0. 30-0. 36-0. Midway through the fourth quarter, they scored again making it an even 42-0 and on the ensuing kickoff the other team took a knee rather than pursue the kick and the ball carrier.

We started up the field toward the line of kneeling Pee-Wee footballers. I heard our coach screaming from the sideline. "Getup! Play. Play the goddamned game!" I saw the opposing coach signal with his clipboard for his team to stay where they were. As we approached the fifty yard line, our coach stopped yelling at them and started yelling at us. "Down it! Now! Take a Knee! Do it!"

And so we did. We ended up ten or fifteen yards from the kneeling kickoff team, out of breath, facing them, our deepest advance of the game. The ref blew the whistle and we lined up for another first down.

We didn't score on that drive but they didn't score anymore, either. Some of the boys were angry at the coach for not letting us score. But most of us agreed with his decision. We were all there to play football, not score pretend touchdowns.
posted by notyou at 10:49 AM on January 27, 2009


Based on the comments in this thread, I would be appalled if just about any MeFite besides Goompa coached any of my kids in any sport.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:51 AM on January 27, 2009


THE COACH WASN'T FIRED FOR THE SCORE OR THE GAME.

THE COACH WAS FIRED FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE SCHOOL TO THE PRESS.

The irony that this thread is arguing the athletic skills of a bunch of kids who apparently can't read is not lost on me, at least.
posted by pineapple at 10:21 AM on January 27 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm reminded of that thread a while back about sexual harassment policies at comic cons or something where it only took a few people at the beginning to take a stance on the issue based on misinterpretations of the facts, and then other responded to their arguments based on this misinterpretation, and still others responded to their responses to their arguments based on the misinterpretation, and on and on and on. Mmm, nostalgia.
posted by the other side at 10:53 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Running up the score is debated at the NFL level where both sides are paid millions of dollars. There are ways of controlling the score of a game that exist between the extremes of scoring 100 and passing the other team the ball and cheering them on. Even in local basketball you'll run across teams you're significantly better than and no one I know who plays that would want to win by more than 30.

Saying that the coach should have eased up is not equivalent to saying the other team should have been coddled. The real problem here is not that his team scored by 100, it's that they won by 100 point margin (maybe the largest in the history of basketball, anywhere?), that they were pressing in the fourth quarter and that the other team only got seven shots off. As was said above, a simple zone defense would have been reasonable.

I don't think the team should have handed the other team the ball, but if you think the coach (and winning team) acted appropriately you either never played sports or you don't understand basic sportsmanship.
posted by null terminated at 10:56 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


On non-preview, notyou, too.

It takes sportsmanship to win or lose well. That is what sportsmanship is, handling victory or defeat in a respectful and respectable manner.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:56 AM on January 27, 2009


I would say "who cares" but apparently a lot of people...
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wasn't going to get sucked into this thread, but I couldn't help notice that "winning gracefully" is conspicuously absent from your definition of good sportsmanship, Dark Messiah

It's not my definition, it's THE definition.

And winning gracefully is even more subjective than losing gracefully. Seemingly, people like to tear down those who achieve a lot more than those who don't. "Gracefully" is as subjective as it gets; I have neither the wont nor the time to debate everyone's perception of that. Short of full-blown tantrums and taunting, everything else is just splitting hairs.

Winning gracefully would be playing your best, not treating your opponents like a practice game. To argue otherwise means you're more concerned about feelings than the spirit of competition. What's graceful about patronizing people?
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:57 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, but that only worked because all nerds are rapists.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on January 27, 2009


Y'know, Dark Messiah is an asshole but I'm agreeing with him on a lot of this. He has some valid points.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:59 AM on January 27, 2009


Running the full court press on a team with 5 minutes left when you're beating them 90-0 so you can reach 100 is poor sportsmanship.

Playing cleanly, safely, and to the best of your ability is never anything other than the best sportsmanship.

Please tell me how a 70 or 80 point victory is "molly coddling" the other team.

If the players on the court aren't playing to the best of their ability, bar strict injury avoidance, that's "molly coddling."

And yes, it's not the coach's place to publicly disagree with not-egregiously-offensive statements from the adminstration.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:00 AM on January 27, 2009


Based on the comments in this thread, I would be appalled if just about any MeFite besides Goompa coached any of my kids in any sport.

Well, we make a pair, because I wouldn't want your kid on my team.
posted by autodidact at 11:02 AM on January 27, 2009


If the final score had been 99-2 this wouldn't even be a story. and there's no X in basketball.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


YEAH! And since sports are sort of replacements for war, we should go about that the same way: If we're at war with a country, they are FUCKED. Civilians? Women? Children? Destroy ALL OF THEM. Show no mercy. Leave no one standing.

Really, really bad analogy. There are rules of war. There are rules of basketball. The winning team followed the rules of basketball. To match the kind of war atrocities that you are mentioning, the winning team would have had to intentionally injure (if not kill) some of the losing players, attack the cheerleaders, and go after the parents with hammers and crowbars.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


.. If the coach hadn't run up the score, he would not ultimately have been fired. I doubt if that many people in this thread are missing the point that he was fired for speaking out against the school. Referring to him being "fired for running up the score" is like short-hand, an encapsulation of ultimate cause-and-effect, no?
posted by autodidact at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somehow, opinions on sportsmanship from someone who publicly calls another an asshole while agreeing with him lack credibility.
posted by sfts2 at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2009



Well, we make a pair, because I wouldn't want your kid on my team.

Besides, my kids will need someone to practice passing drills against during the game.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2009


Somehow, opinions on sportsmanship from someone who publicly calls another an asshole while agreeing with him lack credibility.

Meh, I'm not going to dispute his verbiage. I gave up on arguing others' perceptions of me long ago. I'm also a fan of strong language. Does it help if I'm not offended?
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:06 AM on January 27, 2009


You are a good sport!
posted by sfts2 at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2009


Don King voice: Tonight, it's Mike Tyson against a gaggle of retarded schoolgirls! It's retarded fury!
/Greg Proops


NO! That was Dana Gould. HOW DARE YOU
posted by grubi at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2009


.. If the coach hadn't run up the score, he would not ultimately have been fired. I doubt if that many people in this thread are missing the point that he was fired for speaking out against the school. Referring to him being "fired for running up the score" is like short-hand, an encapsulation of ultimate cause-and-effect, no?

I disagree. You say, "If the coach hadn't run up the score, he would not ultimately have been fired." More accurate would be,

If the coach hadn't run up the score, there would have been no reason for him to speak out against the headmaster's decision to forfeit, therefore he would not ultimately have been fired. But there isn't any actual causation proved.

I think that what caused the coach to be fired was his inability to restrain his big mouth, and his need to defend himself publicly.

Dark Messiah seems to be arguing that the coach had every right to speak out, and also not be fired. I happen to not agree. I think the coach should have privately done right by his players, and done right by their families -- and that means accepting the school's decision to forfeit the win, no matter how much it stung.

I don't think that Micah Grimes deserves both the freedom of speech plus the public podium from which to denigrate the decisions of his employer... and the right for that speech against a private entity in a right-to-work state to bear no consequences.

I do understand the point that you are trying to make, and for the sake of expediency, we could probably default to the shorthand in most angles of the discussion here. Still, I feel that when we say "the coach was fired for running up the score," we eliminate the coach's own culpability and his own free will. Nobody put a gun to his head to post the rebuttal on his basketball website, or to send letters to the press. He chose those actions; now, he suffers the consequences of those choices.

To me, this actually has little to do with the sports angle, and everything to do with acknowledging that part of becoming a grownup means we don't always get to have our cake and eat it too.
posted by pineapple at 11:18 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


NO! That was Dana Gould. HOW DARE YOU

"MISTAAAKE!"... my bad.
posted by autodidact at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2009


Jesus learned everything he knows about running up the score from his old man.
posted by EarBucket at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2009


"Considering I was quoting George Carlin, I'm wondering which of those two categories you fall into? It's a bit of hyperbole; for such an over-the-top topic as coach being fired for not letting talentless opponents score free points."

So, your inability to read the reason the coach was fired: Is that because you're stupid or because you have a learning disability?
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2009


Dark Messiah seems to be arguing that the coach had every right to speak out, and also not be fired. I happen to not agree. I think the coach should have privately done right by his players, and done right by their families -- and that means accepting the school's decision to forfeit the win, no matter how much it stung.

They as much have the right to speak out as the school has to fire them. I think the firing is absurd, but thats the way the cookie crumbles. The coach knew this, even acknowledged it. That said, I follow suit with the coach in taking umbrage with the school and it's asinine notions of sportsmanship.

Do I think the school was wrong. Yes. Do I realize the coach should have kept quiet, if they wanted to keep their job, yes. Do I think the coach was right speaking out, yes? The school's stance is laughable at best. They want competition without the downside; someone loses and someone wins.

becoming a grownup means we don't always get to have our cake and eat it too.

Thus leaving the question, what the fuck is the purpose of the cake? If you want a decorative object, buying a painting.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2009


So, your inability to read the reason the coach was fired: Is that because you're stupid or because you have a learning disability?

If I say the former, does that mean you'll concede all future arguments to me in the future?

My future actions await your response.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2009


former = latter.

Zinged myself.... Awesome!!
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2009


Fair enough. The coach's (that looks wrong) integrity was being called into question though. I think he should have been afforded the right to defend himself in an official forum. Maybe he was hasty and went against policy with his rebuttal, but I still think the whole thing is a big cock-suck, catalyzed by everyone's need to have their precious feelings protected by side curtain airbags.
posted by autodidact at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


If the coach hadn't run up the score, he would not ultimately have been fired.

If he hadn't been born, he also wouldn't have been fired. Similarly, if his mom hadn't had some hot & sweaty sex, he wouldn't have been born. And so on.

Ergo, I blame astrophysics. That goddamn Big Bang fucking things up yet again!
posted by aramaic at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


If he hadn't been born, he also wouldn't have been fired. Similarly, if his mom hadn't had some hot & sweaty sex, he wouldn't have been born. And so on.

Um no. He was fired because he disputed the school's stance that the game should be forfeit and that the coach was unsportsmanlike. Had the score not been so lopsided, there would be no issue.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2009


Don't blame astrophysics! Blame Rasta Fizzies!
posted by Mister_A at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2009


Playing cleanly, safely, and to the best of your ability is never anything other than the best sportsmanship.

Thanks Bobby Knight. Actually, I am not even sure that Bobby would run up a 100-0 score even if he could.
posted by caddis at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2009


The whole "learning disabilities" thing seems irrelevant. How would being dyslexic prevent you from being a good basketball player?

Agree with dios, though, that all parties could have handled this better.
posted by 912 Greens at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2009


So, the coach was fired for contradicting his employer in an email to a newspaper that he wanted published. He did this knowing that he could get fired for doing so.

As far as I know the state of Texas is an at will state. So, it is not surprising to me that he was fired.

What I find amusing is that those that are arguing that the coach should not apologize for mercilessly beating an inferior team. Are then arguing that this coach should be shown mercy and not be fired for acting stupidly by airing his disagreement with his employer in public.

Does anyone defending this guy see the contradiction here? If you defend him and think that he should not be fired - wouldn't that be coddling him? This person lost his job for being an ass to his employer in public. Why should his employer have mercy on him?

Those that think that he should not be fired for his actions - try criticizing your boss in an open letter to the editor that gets published. Then - watch how long your job lasts. After you are fired then whine about it publicly and see how much sympathy you get.
posted by yertledaturtle at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey, everybody, your comments are great. Each and every one of you has made an equivalently valid and enlightening contribution to the thread. You should all be equally proud of yourselves because you're all winners!
posted by autodidact at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


One reason not mentioned of why you don't run up the score like that (and despite the coach's protests I find it hard to believe that Dallas Academy got off only 7 shots all game with the 2nd stringers in and no press) because the odds are much higher that players will get hurt. A game that lopsided brings out a lot of frustration and you're going to have a team that is not as athletic trying to do what they can to stop you from embarrassing them; the odds for someone getting unintentionally injured go up with the frustration factor.

There's plenty of stuff in the rulebooks that's allowed, but doesn't mean it's good sportsmanship. The DA coach could've set up blindside screen plays to try and clean the opposing point guard's clock.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


caddis: Thanks Bobby Knight. Actually, I am not even sure that Bobby would run up a 100-0 score even if he could.

I actually think that Bobby Knight ultimately was dismissed from Indiana for the same mistake as this coach. You may be more popular than the administration, but they still write your paychecks.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2009


The other team scored 0 points. That is really something else. It seems to me that if they really wanted to, the femjocks for Christ could have won 200-0.
posted by autodidact at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2009


Somehow, opinions on sportsmanship from someone who publicly calls another an asshole while agreeing with him lack credibility.

Being crude doesn't make someone wrong.
posted by MrBobaFett at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2009


You should all be equally proud of yourselves because you're all winners!

Yeah, but did you have to wait until we were, oh let's say, 100 posts in before validating us all? That's just unseemly.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:07 PM on January 27, 2009


Ditto on the "been in this game on both sides" here. In high school, our JV lacrosse team was just awful, and we lost some games by 20+ points. In lacrosse, that's a hell of a lot. We were a brand new program, no one involved knew how to play, what are you gonna do? We played, we lost, we practiced, we had fun.

In the last couple years of varsity, we had all been playing for 5 or 6 or 7 years, and most of us were at the worst competent. Our starting players were decent, and we had excellent coaching, so as a unit we were much more effective than any of us would have been alone. There were a couple of games in those seasons against teams it became obvious we could beat with one guy on the field. So the second-string would go in, starter attack would grab long sticks and play defense, we'd put in someone who might take over as goalie in a couple years... even without a lot of subs, there are ways to make a game competitive and still gain something for the better team.

All in all, it sounds like the coach was fired because he didn't think creatively enough about what to do during the game, and because he didn't recognize that after the fact either. In high school sports, the coach makes or breaks the experience. It doesn't sound like they lost much here.
posted by rusty at 12:10 PM on January 27, 2009


He spoke out because it's a ridiculous stance to take; apologizing for something as inane as beating another team at a game.

Actually, I think the apologizing was for being dicks, not for beating another team at a game. Just, y'know, fyi.
posted by dersins at 12:10 PM on January 27, 2009


"Being crude doesn't make someone wrong."

It makes me question their grasp of sportsmanship and etiquette.
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 PM on January 27, 2009


Amongst all this talk about sportsmanship and running-up scores we are forgetting one simple point:

Dallas Academy sucks!
posted by mazola at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2009


There are rules of war. There are rules of basketball. The winning team followed the rules of basketball. To match the kind of war atrocities that you are mentioning, the winning team would have had to intentionally injure (if not kill) some of the losing players, attack the cheerleaders, and go after the parents with hammers and crowbars.

Ummmm, no. It's a metaphor. In war, you want to defeat the other army and put that army's nation in a position that they have to give in to your demands. Killing civilians is considered a no-no because (in theory) defeating the professional soldiers makes the nation defenseless. If you can bend the will of the defeated nation without unnecessary destruction, it's better for everybody.

Likewise, in basketball to win you have to score more points. Not hundreds more points. Just one. To score 100 points more than the other team is unnecessary. It doesn't serve any purpose except to cause malice and spite on the one side, and unnecessary shame on the other. Winning is the goal, not destroying.

Claiming that to go easy on them is molly-coddling them is like saying it's not enough during the bar fight to beat the other guy, or even to beat him until he's unconscious: you have to beat him until he's unconscious and then continue kicking his body until his spine is broken.
posted by nushustu at 12:24 PM on January 27, 2009


Late to this party, but:

Anybody think this whole thing would have turned out differently had the players been boys instead of girls?
posted by hifiparasol at 12:25 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I call redos on my 1988 and 1989 varsity tennis seasons because we were forced to play teams with better courts, better coaching, better equipment, better uniforms (seriously -- our navy skirts were so old they were grey, while our football team got new stuff every year), and WE GOT OUR ASSES KICKED, REGULARLY, PRETTY MUCH NO MATTER WHAT.

But we were good losers about it, at least. Sheesh. And once our new coach got us some free Andre Agassi posters (when he still had hair!), so that was nice.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:26 PM on January 27, 2009


One of my kids plays for a nationally-ranked girls soccer team. The nucleus of the team has been together, and trained under one coach, since they were 11 or 12 years old. They practice a couple of times a week, 52 weeks a year, and play teams from all over the country.

Anyway, in the first round of a league competition a few years ago, they met a team of competent players that was horribly over their heads. At the start, our girls did what they were trained to do. Fast, simple, one- and two-touch possession-oriented soccer. They scored quickly and often. Barely 15 minutes into a 70-minute match, it was obvious that this had the potential to be ridiculously lopsided.

The coach gradually shifted players into other positions -- defenders played forward, forwards played defense, keepers played midfield. The scoring continued. At halftime, he set down some rules for his team: minimum of five passes inside the 18; no using your dominant foot to pass or receive; and no goals on anything other than headers. Most starters rode the bench and were subbed sparingly. They had fun, the changes were not obvious to the opposing team, and the pace remained the same. They won by a wide margin, but it was kept realistic... by the coach.

Now...had this been one of their more competitive tournaments or a college showcase, the mercy switch would never be thrown. No chance. And they wouldn't want it pulled for them, either. They've lost 7-0 (the equivalent of 100-0 in hoops) in major events, and have won 7-0. They understand the stakes, and also know what they've sacrificed (dances, proms, vacations, parties, family time, weekends, summers, etc.) to get where they are today. They have an inherent grasp of sportsmanship -- tempered by the knowledge that most opponents intend to kick their asses.

They learned all of this from their coach. He's not a touchy-feely, "everyone wins and gets a juice box and trophy" guy -- not even close. He just loves the game, and cares for the kids. It's never been about him. He's nurtured a great group of girls who'll take some valuable lessons with them onto their respective college fields this fall.
posted by VicNebulous at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yeah, hifiparasol, I do. I think there are a lot of people who don't think that girls' sports are "real" sports anyway, so they're a lot more willing to exempt girls' sports from the vicious winner-take-all hyper-competitive spirit that they expect and cultivate in male athletes and teams. But I think that the culture of American high school sports is a bit fucked up in general, and maybe the way we treat girls' sports is healthier than the way we treat boys' sports.
posted by craichead at 12:31 PM on January 27, 2009


200-odd posts, and the best I can get out of this discussion is that youth sports is another one of those things that metafilter doesn't do well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The decision to play "Sweet Georgia Brown" over the P.A. was particularly tasteless.
posted by malocchio at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Actually, you see way more lopsided scores in women's sports ALL THE TIME. Just look in a local newspaper at HS girl's basketball scores. You'll often see 50 or 60 point wins. You just never see a team win by such a staggering margin of 100-0, though. That's sort of the crux of the issue here.

VicNebulous, sorry, but 7-0 is not really the same as 100-0. Lots of teams will exit a soccer game not having scored a goal. I don't think I've ever seen or heard of a basketball game in which one team did not score a basket.

And, Jesus, knocking the coach for not pumping the brakes when his team was ahead by 60, 70, or 80 points is not the same as pushing t-ball ethics of everybody's-a-winnerism. Big diff.
posted by billysumday at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there any group left we can refer to with a crude derogatory term?

Sure: Bigots.

What a complete non-story this is, though...

If the administration at Covenant thinks the coach's actions were inconsistent with the values of Christian sportsmanship they embrace, then it's their call to make.

It's not like this is a public school we're talking about here: they can do whatever they want.

Christian schools specifically exist to inculcate a particular set of values and ideals. So this coach, in the school's opinion, didn't perform his job in a way consistent with those values. He doesn't get what Christian virtues like temperance, charity and mercy are about, so they fired him. Big deal. That's their prerogative. Why is this story around wasting ink and bandwidth?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:40 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty much what I was thinking, craichead.

VicNebulous's coach seems to have had a solution that created a challenge for your fellow players without arbitrarily hamstringing them simply for the other team's sake. I'm generally not a sports guy, but that seems like the best example (that, and Gompa's story) of "good sportsmanship" I can imagine. Not sure why the Dark Messiahs of the world want us at each other's throats instead.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2009


Why is this story around wasting ink and bandwidth?

Because the Dallas Morning News elected to sneakily suggest that one team full of bad sports unfairly beat up on a team full of kids in wheelchairs, and the rest of the world ran with it.

I feel certain that if there were not the implication of entitlement to pearl-clutching horror over the "disabled" issue, this story would not have got the traction it did. Find me a place that picked up the DMN story that left out the disabled angle.

At least AP later clarified that it was dyslexia and attention span issues on the table -- rather than leaving us with the image of wan, hobbling Tiny Tims trying bravely to keep up with a horde of massive NBA-quality athletes.

Supposedly, a student on the Covenant team posted the following online somewhere:

"I have ADD and ADHD. There is nothing that separates me from anyone on the Dallas Academy girls team, so there is nothing that should separate the value of our sides. What we did that night is what we are on this team for: to play basketball and win. As for the media calling our actions 'unchristian', that is very sad. For this team, and our coach are a living testimony. I am not sorry for how we played that night because I know that no harm was intended and I also know no harm occurred. I would hope America was more willing to read the lies in between the lines. The coach is as important to the team as we are—we are with him 100 percent."
posted by pineapple at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2009


Beating high school girl tards by NBA Jam cheat code scores?

Somewhere in Robot Heaven, Ayn Rand is smiling.
posted by Damn That Television at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2009


I am a Chief Scout in Canada, where we place a little more emphasis on human rights.

Have things changed in the thirty years since I was invited to not participate after my Akela learned that I and my family were atheists?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:55 PM on January 27, 2009


Is anyone else finding it ironic that the coach for the team who lost 100-0 is named Charlie Brown?
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:05 PM on January 27, 2009


Oh hey, I fell for a co-workers joke. Disregard my previous comment, I am a simpleton in need of coffee.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:11 PM on January 27, 2009


Beavers! Beavers! Beavers! Sharing! Sharing! Sharing!
posted by stinkycheese at 1:12 PM on January 27, 2009


Did you actually read that article you linked to, pineapple?
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.
Do you not consider that poor sportsmanship and obnoxious behavior?
posted by craichead at 1:15 PM on January 27, 2009


Beating high school girl tards by NBA Jam cheat code scores?

So hey, this far into the thread, could we maybe stop calling the losing team "retards"? Besides the fact that it's been pointed out umpteen times that they actually just have learning disabilities (as in dyslexia and ADHD), it's low fucking class. Enough with that juvenile fashionably-irreverent 4chan bullshit.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:23 PM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


It makes me question their grasp of sportsmanship and etiquette.

The way I behave in a discussion on an internet forum does not reflect how I behave in a pick up game of soccer with friends in the park, and that does not reflect how I behave in an official regulated season soccer match. And how I play sure doesn't reflect how I coach or ref.
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2009


Have things changed in the thirty years since I was invited to not participate after my Akela learned that I and my family were atheists?

My activity was about 20 years ago. I am certain that at age 14, I was publically an athiest and never caught flack for it ANYWHERE in my Scout troop or my Catholic school (again, I have the highest award a youth member in Scouts can obtain - I wasn't on any blacklist).

I can't remember any discussion of religion in Scouts at all, save the following examples: I remember a generic prayer, which about half the kids didn't participate in when we took down the flag and a "religion in life" badge which wasn't mandatory or anything and just required a note from some clergyperson to obtain. I guess part of the scouting obligation was to "To Love and Serve God, My Queen, My Country and My Fellow Man"... I never saw anyone who didn't take it is an empty bit of ritual... not saying your Cub leader didn't go rogue.

Slandering the useless, rotten, old Queen didn't land me in any trouble either.
posted by Deep Dish at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2009


THE NAIL IN THE COFFIN!
posted by matt755811 at 1:33 PM on January 27, 2009


Missing Bush already?

This is what happens when we don't have Bush to kick around anymore - A coach gets fired after winning a basketball game 100-0 against a team of kid with learning disabilities. And MetaFilter spends all day debating about who was the biggest douche bag, the winning coach, the losing coach, the school that fired him, or the special needs kids.

With Bush gone we're reduced to deconstructing girls high school basketball.

And even that is a stretch, since it turns out the coach wasn't even fired over the game or the score. So we're really debating an imaginary situation that we wish we could talk about. And still not satisfied we go about jazzing it up with all sorts of tinsel and lights so that we can pretend we're debating weighty ethical and sociological issues.

A coach ran his mouth in public about how much the school sucked, so the school fired him. Done. Print.

The weighty story here is the special needs kids who keep competing even though they get trounced every game.
posted by aapep at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was publically an athiest

I bet you were the athiest scout ever.
posted by dersins at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does this mean we didn't save the teen center and Old Man Withers is gonna close it at midnight?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


craichead said: "Did you actually read that article you linked to, pineapple?
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.
Do you not consider that poor sportsmanship and obnoxious behavior?
"

Can you explain what "poor sportsmanship and obnoxious behavior" have to do, in the slightest sense, with any of the points I've made in this thread?

I'm all for defending myself when called out, friend -- but I'm not going to break a sweat trying to answer to you calling me out for stuff I never even talked about. I've never once weighed in on whether what happened during the game itself was right or wrong; until there's a review of a videotape, none of us can really know what happened that night.
posted by pineapple at 1:55 PM on January 27, 2009


December Boy: Enough with that juvenile fashionably-irreverent 4chan bullshit.

Hey, not only have we been doing this since before 4chan, we've been dishing out juvenile, fashionably-irreverent bullshit in our own particular style before 4chan.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2009


I don't really understand what's wrong with running up the score? What does it really even matter? Were any of the kids hurt? No? This really isn't deserving of the time it's been given in the spotlight...
posted by prototype_octavius at 2:01 PM on January 27, 2009


What does it really even matter? Were any of the kids hurt? No? This really isn't deserving of the time it's been given in the spotlight...

OMG um, I hate to tell you but... well... TopicalNewsAccompaniedByAppropriateLevelsofDiscussionFilter is three doors down.




This is MetaFilter.



awkward.
posted by pineapple at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2009


SWEEP THE LEG, JOHNNY!
posted by sourwookie at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2009


I'm all for defending myself when called out, friend
I'm pretty sure I'm not your friend, so kindly spare me the patronizing language. Thanks!

The bit of the article you quoted is from here. Here are some other quotes from that page:
Further Coach Grimes is an amazing Coach and a devout Christian.
He has helped not just me but “Our family” not just in basketball but also spiritually in my walk to Christ.
Coach is a godly man who has always been selfless and a born servant.
As for the media calling our actions “unchristian”, that is very sad. For this team, and our coach are a living testimony. I am not sorry for how we played that night because I know that no harm was intended and I also know no harm occurred.
In your role as self-appointed mod and thread nanny, you say that religion is off limits. But it's all over the website that you quoted. So is the idea that you're allowed to discuss the bits that you see as relevant, but the rest of us must ask your permission? And if the players see their conduct as a "living testimony," why shouldn't I take it that way? They claim their conduct reflects on their faith. Who are you to say they're wrong?
posted by craichead at 2:36 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whether the coach was right or wrong, whether apologizing (or not) was right or wrong is, I think, immaterial. Zero tolerance policies in the workplace are handy for sexual harassment, violence, but it seems cruel to me to fire a guy for making a mistake. Especially in this economy.

He's lost a lot of opportunities. His income is a part of that, sure, but also time and the sort of introspection that may lead to the sought after apology. Now, I imagine, one would find it hard not to feel bitter. And poor.
posted by birdie birdington at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


it seems cruel to me to fire a guy for making a mistake.

He was blatantly insubordinate. He forced their hand.
posted by The Gooch at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you, hifiparasol -- exactly!
posted by mothershock at 3:11 PM on January 27, 2009


He was blatantly insubordinate. He forced their hand.

Maybe they should have forgiven him.

Or turned the other cheek.
posted by ODiV at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


He was blatantly insubordinate. He forced their hand.

I only read the article linked, so maybe it's been stated somewhere else that I haven't seen, but the linked article doesn't state that he refused to do work the school required of him. He was bitchy (at most, if we really need to put a name on it), but having a bad attitude is hardly insubordination.
posted by birdie birdington at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2009


...our navy skirts were so old they were grey, while our football team got new stuff every year...

And Buddy Garrity is so gonna get those Panthers a Jumbotron after all!
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on January 27, 2009


until there's a review of a videotape, none of us can really know what happened that night.

Quoted for truth, and because it's surprisingly rare in the mess above. Y'all need to see the tape; the rest is mental masturbation. Until we see the game as it was actually played out, there's very little value to any opinion here.
posted by mediareport at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2009


craichead said: "The bit of the article you quoted is from here. Here are some other quotes from that page..."

This really doesn't compute. I found value in one quote, the one I shared, and one which had nothing to do with Christianity. Are you saying that I have to accept the whole thing part and parcel to find value in one quote? Why are you so hellbent that I must address the parts that you care about? You are the one who continues to foist the religious angle into this, repeatedly.

craichead said: "In your role as self-appointed mod and thread nanny, you say that religion is off limits."

What? See above. Who's thread-modding, again? I shared my opinion -- that religion is a red herring in this conversation, and that people like you are electing to get hung up on the Christianity aspect. Other people in this thread have had the same opinion; why are you fixated on me?

craichead said: "So is the idea that you're allowed to discuss the bits that you see as relevant, but the rest of us must ask your permission?"

What? This is too ridiculous to address. See above.

craichead said: "And if the players see their conduct as a "living testimony," why shouldn't I take it that way? They claim their conduct reflects on their faith. Who are you to say they're wrong?"

Um, okay? Whatever? Take it however you like?

I have never once discussed the players' behavior or beliefs. Frankly, I don't care all that much, nor has it ever been relevant to the points that I've made in this thread. Again, I can clearly see why it's super-relevant to you and your "THIS IS ALL ABOUT CHRISTIANITY UH HUH IS TOO" position. But repeating this over and over doesn't make other people care about it to the extent that you do. We disagree over what role religion plays in this incident; it's not a federal case. Let it go.

By the way, I notice that after accusing me of being indifferent to "poor sportsmanship and obnoxious behavior" (not that those are relevant to any of the points I've made in this thread), upon which I asked you to clarify, you've elected to just disregard that exchange. A less charitable person than myself might observe that you are confusing the speck in another's eye for the beam in your own.
posted by pineapple at 3:55 PM on January 27, 2009


birdie birdington - he was terminated for writing a letter to the local paper blatantly opposing their position on this matter.
posted by The Gooch at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2009


birdie birdington said: "I only read the article linked, so maybe it's been stated somewhere else that I haven't seen, but the linked article doesn't state that he refused to do work the school required of him. He was bitchy (at most, if we really need to put a name on it), but having a bad attitude is hardly insubordination."

This might be a regional variation or something, but down here, when the entity that is effectively the CEO of a company publicly states, "This is our position on Incident X, and as an organization we feel Y,"

and then a contract worker subsequently goes to the media and says, "I don't agree with CEO, Incident X wasn't about Y but about P, Q, R, S, and T,"

that's pretty much a classic case of insubordination.
posted by pineapple at 3:58 PM on January 27, 2009


The Covenant School fired its girls basketball coach Sunday, the same day he posted a message on a youth basketball Web site saying he disagreed with school officials who had publicly apologized for the team's 100-0 victory over Dallas Academy.
posted by The Gooch at 4:00 PM on January 27, 2009


Well, I'm certainly happy to admit ignorance on what qualifies as insubordination. I guess I would rephrase my beliefs then to say that many workplaces are cruel and unjust environments.

Sincerely,
Captain Obvious
posted by birdie birdington at 4:09 PM on January 27, 2009


Other people in this thread have had the same opinion; why are you fixated on me?
Because you're the person who called me out directly for referring to parts of the story that you believe I shouldn't address. You seem awfully defensive about this story, and I certainly wouldn't have paid any attention to you had you not chastised me by name.
A less charitable person than myself might observe that you are confusing the speck in another's eye for the beam in your own.
A less charitable person might say that, eh? I think I'll demonstrate genuinely good manners by actually refraining to say the uncharitable things that come to mind to say about you!
posted by craichead at 4:17 PM on January 27, 2009


Oh, Christ. I called you out by name because of your wholly inappropriately-placed judgy rant about how Covenant doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt here, simply because they are a private school charging school fees that you don't agree with, and because they are not offering what you deem to be a suitable amount of financial aid. Scroll up and see for yourself if you don't trust my link.

If that's what your knickers are all jammed up about, I'm truly sorry. I'll... not use your name next time, I guess?
posted by pineapple at 4:26 PM on January 27, 2009


I don’t think the school should have forfeited (or offered to).

That said, there isn’t much emphasis on the ‘sports’ aspect of sports. It’s apparently about the winning, the money, status, records, all kinds of things, but not about the game.

When I was a kid and I first entered little league I wouldn’t swing at the baseball. My coach at the time sent me up to the plate with no bat, to shame me into wanting to swing. It didn’t work. Because I wasn’t scared of the ball, what I wanted to do was to smash the ball further than anyone. I wanted to homer, ever time I got up to the plate. I didn’t want to let anyone down and think I wasn’t the best. Because if I wasn’t the best, what was I? And yet here I was being a goat.
Eventually my mom explained to me that it was alright not to hit a home run every time, or even hit the ball. That even the best pros can only hit maybe 4 out of 10.
So, I relaxed and started swinging. Missed a lot too. But I spent time practicing and I became good. And that lesson stuck. Practice. Work hard. You do better.
So I became a premier athlete. I excelled in football, wrestling, boxing, rugby, etc. I’ve been on undefeated teams, went to state, etc. In private competitions (martial arts, et.al) I won award after award.
But I always practiced good sportsmanship. I respected the game and I respected my opponents. Because the heart and soul of the game is the game.
My trophies, the ones I kept, are rusting in my mom’s basement. Because never was being better that made me happy. It was playing. Playing the game. Just playing.
And that’s made me a better person, at least in that respect.

Because that’s what it’s supposed to be about. You play with each other. You have fun. You try as hard as you can, but winning a slaughter is as joyless as losing one. I want a hard-won victory. I want the mud on my face and the grit in my eye. I want to walk off the matt with a broken rib and black eyes knowing I left a worthy opponent on the ground. I want to know I had his best.

But winning isn’t enough. It has to be a game.
(what gompa sed)

It’s not just respect for your opponent, it’s respect for the game.
When it stops being a game, it stops being meaningful. It loses the context from all other games.
And this game, far as I could tell, wasn’t exactly for the playoffs or anything. A ‘W’ is a ‘W’ whether it’s 50 points or 100.

So this 100 point victory is meaningless. It means no more than if I had a string of tomato cans and racked up 50 knockouts undefeated. yay! I win! I’m better than Marciano!
What crap. No one wants to win anything that way.

Now, I’ve got no patience with ‘good losers’ having sportsmanship. A good loser doesn’t just get upset or throw a fit on the field, those people are just idiots. An actual ‘good loser’ goes home with that loss as motivation to work harder and come back and win. But that’s easy. Anyone who doesn’t do that doesn’t want to really play, they’re just filling out a position.

So what matters is how you win. That matters more than how you lose (old Lincoln quote - any man can stand adversity, if you want to test a man’s character, give him power).

Especially with whatever the deal is with the point guard. That so called ‘record’ is hollow, just a stat fetish. That pisses me off.

Always strikes me how the people obsessed with the numbers and records and these little details and whatnot nearly never actually strapped on pads or put on a uniform or sweated and bleed to push themselves an inch farther in a real contest.

I’ve played legendary contests, stuff that maybe 30 people saw who will probably never see better in their lives. None of this lives in record books or on t.v. or means anything in the newspaper. It’s nothing we can trot around as a trophy. It lives in our hearts. And that’s the only place it matters.

Make the game a game. If it’s not a game, what the hell are you playing for?
You want competition? Step in with me, we’ll go old school and I’ll fucking show you why we have sports rules instead of real competition. There are reasons no one does that for show anymore. Only thing you can learn from a blood match is how to survive. Useful, but not something for entertainment or edification.

Sport is supposed to be sport.

That’s why you put in your second or third string (different story here, I know, but generally speaking) if your victory is assured.
That’s why you give your players different rules, not just ‘ease up’ but ‘work on fundimentals’ and such. If there’s no real resistance, there’s no real fun and no opportunity to learn anything or get better. So you create some resistance, that opportunity.

I mean, games themselves are made up rules to begin with. The only thing real about them is the opposition to exerted effort.
I could beat the hell out of any 12 year old in the world. That’s why, y’know, I don’t fight them. They were competition when I was 12. And if they weren’t, I’d get someone bigger and older until I had competition. Or I’d only throw from the left. Or not block but only dodge. Sure, keep playing, and be serious.
But there’s any number of things you can do to make it a contest.
It’s about winning, sure. But not about winning ‘big’ against token competition.

That said - firing the coach is a whole other can of worms. If he was running up the score, yeah, I think he deserves a (metaphoric) ass-kicking. I’d be pretty pissed if someone took someone I was training and beat him bad enough to risk giving him brain damage or something - not knocking him out so he could have a huge point total - and said ‘well, I was trying my best, you didn’t want me to molly coddle him, did you?’ (Pissed hell, I’d put him jail).
I don’t *know* that he ran up the score though. But it seems to me that he did.
I mean what - is there some argument here that the score could have been much worse? The opposing coach is saying the guy ran up the score. Looking at the numbers I’d have to say yeah. But again, from my POV that’s ‘if.’ If the other team was that bad, different story - there are ways to deal with that too, but that’s been addressed (IMHO - in (amateur) rugby sometimes players whore on one side or the other if the match is boringly lopsided, depends on the circumstances, etc.).
And this criticising the administration thing I don’t know much about, so, no comment as to fair. Private school tho - their rules. They could fire him for no reason at all. Again, no comment on the justice in that.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:28 PM on January 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Smedleyman that comment was really freaking long.
posted by BrnP84 at 4:42 PM on January 27, 2009


The substance of our dispute, pineapple, is that you think you're in charge of deciding what is "appropriate", and I don't think that's your job. What makes you a better judge than I am of what's appropriate to say in this thread?

I'm not Christian, and I don't live in an area where people routinely invoke Christ in the middle of disputes about sporting events. To me, the pervasive religious-speak here is a tad bizarre. It may not come across that way to you because it's culturally normal to someone who lives in the Dallas area. It's not normal to me. And therefore, what stands out to me about this story is the weird juxtaposition between the huge amount of religious language that the participants use and the ways in which their behavior doesn't seem to comport with what I understand the teachings of Christianity to be. Jesus said "blessed are the meek," not "blessed are the people who win by a hundred points," so it is weird to me that these extremely vocal Christians reportedly got so excited about winning a game by a hundred points that they didn't notice that they were humiliating their opponents. "Blessed are the poor in spirit" seems to sit oddly with the existence of very expensive Christian prep schools which are not open to the poor or even middle class.

Now, that may not be a legitimate point of view. I am certainly holding these Christians to a higher standard than I'd hold other people, precisely because they seem to invite being held to a high standard. I sure as hell don't go around announcing that I'm a "living testimony" to anything. I might try to live my life that way, but putting it on a website seems to me to be asking for trouble. And if I did say that, I'd expect to be held to it. I would expect people to see me as a living testimony to whatever I said I was testifying about and to judge that thing according to my conduct. Like I said, this may be unfair. But it's not your call. You're not in charge here. You can't make me shut up. So stop trying, because it's just extending this discussion in which you claim not to want to participate. If you don't want to discuss this with me, ignore me. If you engage me, I will respond.
posted by craichead at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeah, BrnP84, I like to read the thread before I comment. Cover some of the concepts I’ve read. It’s a pretty long thread.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:50 PM on January 27, 2009


-If there is a policy of not running up the score, why no make it clearer?

-It might not be explicitly spelled out in the rule book, but it's pretty much universally understood among sports people.


As far as I can tell it is purely an American concern. Certainly I have never, ever heard of an Australian sporting team being criticised for winning by too much. The score in the 2007 Australian football grand final was 163 to 44. The only criticism was of the loser for being rubbish. I've been on both sides of some crushing pastings in junior football, and at no time did a leading team consider doing anything except winning by as much as possible.

I'd love to hear if it is the same in Europe if anyone is still reading 200 odd comments in.
posted by markr at 5:00 PM on January 27, 2009


To me, the pervasive religious-speak here is a tad bizarre. It may not come across that way to you because it's culturally normal to someone who lives in the Dallas area.

It doesn't come across that way to me, because (as I have already explained in the clearest language I know how to use) the mere use of the word "Christ" does not actually imbue the situation with a load of "religious-speak." I analogized it upthread with the similar value propositions of other private schools; clearly you either didn't comprehend or elected to reject that interpretation of the situation. You continue to incorrectly attribute the use of the phrase "Christ-like," to people who never said it, in statements that were never made.

What makes you a better judge than I am of what's appropriate to say in this thread?

Nothing. All I have is my own opinion. That you read my words as meaning more than they actually do is about you, not about me.

Like I said, this may be unfair. But it's not your call.

It certainly is "my call" to say that I think you're really out in left field on this.

You're not in charge here. You can't make me shut up. So stop trying, because it's just extending this discussion in which you claim not to want to participate.

I'm not trying to make you shut up, nor have I ever tried such a thing, and at this point, you're starting to sound more than a little bit insane. The fact that you have a hard-on for making this whole issue about Christianity -- when I don't think that it is in fact about that at all, and therefore I choose not to respond to your continued BUT WE MUST TALK ABOUT THE XTIANS WE MUST WE MUST WE MUST THE XTIANS!!!!! THE XTIANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!--- does not actually mean that you are being silenced.

What I openly claim that I'm not participating in is your further digression over what it means to be a good Christian. It's not a topic I care about, and I don't think it's that interesting, and I don't think it's actually relevant to what happened between Covenant School and Dallas Academy.

That you're just about on the edge of frothing and wild-eyed babbling, I would talk about all day long, if I thought there was any percentage in it. But, it's obvious that you're carrying a lot of baggage into this conversation (about religion, about Christians, about people who talk about their faith publicly, about private school, about "rich people"),

and frankly, serving as the continued foil for your outrage, just for fun,

isn't good sportsmanship.
posted by pineapple at 5:14 PM on January 27, 2009


That was an awfully long post to respond to someone who isn't worth your time because she's insane!
posted by craichead at 5:17 PM on January 27, 2009


I'd love to hear if it is the same in Europe if anyone is still reading 200 odd comments in.

Generally the score doesn't go over 5-0 even when it'd be relatively easy to. You sometimes see higher numbers when a team has to make up for shoddy past performance, but I was surprised two years ago with Man. United - Roma 7-1. Certainly not unheard of against lower-tier clubs, but bigger ones usually don't go all out.

As for "the rules of the game", sportsmanship doesn't always equal following the rules. Players regularly kick the ball off court if someone's injured and the other side returns the ball.
posted by ersatz at 5:46 PM on January 27, 2009


This has probably been said already, but why were they even playing this team? I guess I am a competitive guy who just doesn't see why it's a problem that the players and coach scored as many points as they could. It is not their fault the other team is no good, they shouldn't be playing that team. Competitive sports aren't about pity. There is nothing preventing a person from being a good sportsman and playing to the best of their ability. They are not mutually exclusive traits. Just because you trounced the other team doesn't mean you have to be a dick about it, and from what I read, the people involved weren't.

So the fact that the school is shunning this coach just because he did well and has the cajones to politely stand up for his opinion is just idiotic.
posted by jellywerker at 5:49 PM on January 27, 2009


Competitive sports aren't about pity.

HIGH SKOOL ATHELTICS (SIC!) ARE ONLY ABOUT ONE THING!!!!!@!one!!@!#!

With (sarcastic) apologies to Dark Messiah and the other creepos on this thread. Jesus....
posted by joe lisboa at 6:20 PM on January 27, 2009


Very well said Smedleyman. Very well.
posted by caddis at 6:22 PM on January 27, 2009


Put arguably more soberly (and I'm out after this, I've gotta wallyball appointment with 5 ten year olds to get to, you know, so I can teach them about sportspersonship and so forth), there are enough false dilemmas in this thread to fuel an entire dissertation on logical fallacies.

I'm tempted to quote Nirvana's "Recess" but I know it'd be lost on you all. As an educator I have to wake up in the morning and, you know, correct this fucking bullshit. Good night, arm-chair quarterbacks projecting your own machismo-driven conception of sport onto some 15 year old girls. I wish I could help you, but I'm not trained in patheticology.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:27 PM on January 27, 2009


This is ridiculous.
posted by MikeGusto at 7:36 PM on January 27, 2009


This is kinda the flip side of the story that was on MeFi several weeks ago about the high school football coach who recruited parents and his team to root for the other team.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3789373


A worthwhile read for anybody who might ever be in the position of losing their high school coaching gig under similar circumstances.
posted by Skwirl at 7:41 PM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


^ Metafilter: clearly does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach

You had to go and tell all of MetaFilter didn't you?
posted by clearly at 8:09 PM on January 27, 2009


I totally don't understand the tone of this thread. Is there some magical threshold beyond which a sports team's winning transcends skill and enters the domain of assholery? Does your definition of sportsmanship include the expectation that an opposing team that is winning legitimately will suddenly stop trying to save face on your behalf?
posted by tehloki at 8:46 PM on January 27, 2009


oh, jeez

1 - some people suck at basketball - the wise ones who suck at basketball stop playing it and go on with their lives - like me

2 - the coach will get another job with an employer who's a little less sanctimonious and hypocritica - if they really disapprove of games that are 100-0 maybe they should stop scheduling games with teams that haven't won for 4 years

3 - you dudes are not fair - there are lots of those who can write to the web but they can't know words with more than one word part to them and when you use big words it is like a ball team that wins by too high a score - you write to make these guys feel dumb - you need to be guys who do not use big words and think real smart thoughts - it is just like 3 point scores and a full court press when you do that so when you do that you are not guys who do what you say those guys should do - you need to not talk out of both sides of your face but write so the guys in that school can know what you write and not run up the smart score on them like the ball team did in the ball game

what's good for the goose is good for the male goose

now you will have to wait - our new lead guy is too smart - i will write the speech where he says he is the new lead guy in words of one part so all, not just the smart guys can know what he said

"Thank you. Thank you. My guys who live in the same big place I live in: I stand here on this day like a real small guy in front of the real big job in front of us and thanks for the trust you gave me and the guys who were our mom and dad's mom and dad's mom and dads and back more, who make me think of what they gave up for us.

"I thank the old lead guy Bush for what he did for this big place we live in as well as the big heart and nice work with guys he had when I came in to move his ass out ..."

hmmm, going to have to work on that ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there some magical threshold beyond which a sports team's winning transcends skill and enters the domain of assholery?

Yes. It looks like you understand more than you say. The exact point of this magical threshold, well, that is actually pretty hard to find, but suffice to say it is pretty far from 100-0. Anyway, you have nicely refined this whole issue to its essence.
posted by caddis at 12:30 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just remember, when you put your kids into athletics, you have one and only one goal, to teach them - how to punish and humiliate the other side. They will play to the absolute best of their abilities and totally crush and embarrass the other side and by some twisted people's calculus this will be considered great sportsmanship. Remember, you want to really crush those pathetic losers. If they go home thinking that they have any upside at all you have failed, you pathetic jerk. CRUSH them! What is the matter with you? We aren't sure if we like the cut of your jib, it perhaps might even seem to swish, if you aren't up with this crush the losers thing. Your wrist is perhaps looking a little limp. Get with the picture here and WIN! Humiliating your opponent is the peak of sportsmanship.
posted by caddis at 1:21 AM on January 28, 2009


It reminds me of when Canada plays Kazakhstan in hockey.

Luckily they've been pushed down; Switzerland is the next lopsided target even if they have shut us out in the past. 30K players in the whole country. Cripes we probably have more guys playing in Winnipeg.

"Clearly, these kids are neither physically nor mentally handicapped."

Even though that appears to be the case here you can't tell by looking at a person.

"What is the purpose of putting on a 'sport event' if you're supposed to take it easy, or instill others with a (false) sense of achievement. This is horseshit."

Only defeating someone by say 60-0 is instilling them with a false sense of achievement?

"So I quit the wrestling team after a year and pursued things I had a better aptitude for. It's that frigging simple."

And if you aren't actually good at anything?

"I've played sports and I've won and I've lost, and I've lost big. Some people are better than you and that's all there is to it. You don't like it? Practice harder."

This has little to do with practise and everything to do with a small talent pool. My elementary school was the christian school. We had a 6/7 split because their weren't enough kids in the school to come close to creating a straight 7 class. We were placed in the absolute bottom rung sports division and still lost practically every game of every team sport we competed in. The next nearest school population wise in our division had three times the student population. The only team we were even close to competitive with was from the school that had so many students they could run a Div A and a Div C team.

em>"Beyond that why are these girls playing in the league at all? Who can benefit from this? They haven't won a game in at least 4 years, and are crushed every time out. This should be a developmental intramural team, not a regular league team."

How are you going to play intramural BB with only 9 players? Inter school league play is really the only game in town and playing people who are better than you is the best way to get better.

"Anybody think this whole thing would have turned out differently had the players been boys instead of girls?"

I don't.

"This has probably been said already, but why were they even playing this team? I guess I am a competitive guy who just doesn't see why it's a problem that the players and coach scored as many points as they could. It is not their fault the other team is no good, they shouldn't be playing that team."

Both teams are probably in the lowest, "catch all", division available.

IMO the team shouldn't have been up 25-0 in the first three minutes. Unless it was his first day on the job or something the coach would have known the small school was going to lose and should have instituted more sporting play from the start.
posted by Mitheral at 3:42 AM on January 28, 2009


To people saying that sports are about going out and playing your best (within the rules): on what basis do you make that assertion? What made you think that that is the single and exclusive criterion defining "sport"? This is a serious question, I'm not trying to patronize you. I ask because many of us in this thread believe there was something uncool about a 100-0 win, and recognize that sports have a more nuanced purpose than to declare a superior side of an arbitrary conflict.

Yes, this nuance gets into uncomfortable fuzzy issues like feelings. There's not an explicit threshold at which a commanding lead becomes a rout of the other team. There's not a binary choice between running up the score and playing with your eyes closed. Nor are such discrete boundaries necessary to our argument.

I maintain that your definition of "sport", the definition in which you go out and give 110% and whatnot, is founded upon the premise of a balanced matchup. In this instance, reality undermined that premise, and the Covenant coach was one of several adults involved who failed to adjust his behavior accordingly. I think it's entirely appropriate to hold him accountable for those decisions, and for his subsequent insubordination in their defense.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:51 AM on January 28, 2009


Does your definition of sportsmanship include the expectation that an opposing team that is winning legitimately will suddenly stop trying to save face on your behalf?

It includes expecting to get trounced if I'm losing and not showing off when I'm overwhelmingly better.
posted by ersatz at 5:29 AM on January 28, 2009


I'm just sayin' I don't really get what's such a big deal? I'm with markr and jellywerker.

I would've done the same thing if I were the coach or a player.

And apologies to pineapple- I reckon this kind of thing really is a big deal for you.
posted by prototype_octavius at 6:26 AM on January 28, 2009


We aren't sure if we like the cut of your jib, it perhaps might even seem to swish, if you aren't up with this crush the losers thing. Your wrist is perhaps looking a little limp. Get with the picture here and WIN! Humiliating your opponent is the peak of sportsmanship.

caddis, I can't think of anything more crushing and humiliating than watching someone else shut themselves down to say "Fuck it, you're not even worth trying," and still beating the crap of you. Not even just put in their second string, but visibly shut down their real play? That's the biggest fuck-you I can imagine.

Riki tiki, your assumption seems to be that kids are too dumb to know when they're being patronized by the other team, and that accordingly it salves their egos to lose less badly than they otherwise might have. I just don't buy the premise. At least, I don't buy it for high school students, at an age that tends to be keenly aware of intentional and unintentional slights and at which being talked or acted down to as a kid is especially bad.

This is the sort of thing that the adults should prevent from happening in the first place. In particular, the losing coach shouldn't be fielding teams that are so unprepared, or should be prepared to turn his games into forfeits when the score gets too bad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:48 AM on January 28, 2009


I love to watch sports, but I rarely have I team that I follow other than the NY Giants. So whenever someone asks me who I'm rooting for (such as when I go to the Knicks game tonight), I always say I'm rooting for everyone to have a good time.
posted by yeti at 7:29 AM on January 28, 2009


prototype_octavius said: "And apologies to pineapple- I reckon this kind of thing really is a big deal for you."

Whoops, sorry you misread -- I was being totally tongue-in-cheek with the TopicalNewsAccompaniedByAppropriateLevelsofDiscussionFilter remark.

None of this is actually a big deal for me. I've never competed in team sports, so I really don't have a dog in the "what is the definition of sportsmanship" hunt.
posted by pineapple at 7:56 AM on January 28, 2009


Inter school league play is really the only game in town and playing people who are better than you is the best way to get better.

Now this just isn't true. I guess like all things it depends on where you live, but school sports are not the only sports around. My high school didn't have a soccer team until after I graduated, but that didn't stop me from playing soccer all thru Jr High and High School. There are all sorts of area sports clubs that form leagues for different sports. If your school can't field a team, they shouldn't. Then if you still want to play the sport competitively you should look to someplace besides your school to play.

This has little to do with practise and everything to do with a small talent pool.

Solution above resolves small talent pool also. Teams are drawn evenly from total pool of those involved in the league.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:10 AM on January 28, 2009


"You can ease up on a team when you're beating the shit out of them. NBA coaches regularly put in their reserves and ease up when a game is out of reach. And these are paid professionals. Why wouldn't a high school coach do this?"

They don't do it out of a sense of moral obligation. They do it to keep their best players from getting injured.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:24 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I coach youth soccer, and occasionally a game would clearly lead to a blow-out in our favor. On these occasions, I would go over to the other coach and invite him to put all of his players on the field at once, the obvious effect being that the scoring may slow down, and they have a much better chance of staying competitive for the rest of the game. On more than one of these occasions, the other coach JUST DIDN'T GET IT. He didn't understand why I would want to slow down scoring; clearly it is not something he would even consider were the rolls reversed. Just sayin', maybe something similar happened here.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2009


I can't think of anything more crushing and humiliating than watching someone else shut themselves down to say "Fuck it, you're not even worth trying," and still beating the crap of you. Not even just put in their second string, but visibly shut down their real play?

Again though, this is based on the false dichotomy that the only two available options in this scenario are:

1) Playing at absolute full intensity with your most elite players on the floor for virtually the entire length of the game

or

2) Making it obvious you are taking it easy on your lesser opponents in an incredibly embarrassing and patronizing manner

I simply don't buy that those are the only two solutions here (in fact, I find it a little odd that people are still implying this when several folks have chimed in on this thread with lengthy real-life examples of how to ease up on an opponent without it being shockingly obvious. Are people just ignoring the examples that contradict their premise?). It's not as if blatantly standing around with your arms folded, giving your opponents free shots at the basket is the only alternative to running a full-court press when you already have a 60 point lead.
posted by The Gooch at 9:07 AM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Gooch, it's inherently obvious, unless the relevant team is very young or doesn't have something approaching normal mental faculties, because the rate at which the other team scores slows way down. Do you really think more or less normal teenagers are too fucking stupid to see that?

But I'd agree that putting in your bench/second string doesn't really count as that sort of patronizing treatment, as long as whoever is playing doesn't play below their abilities.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:30 AM on January 28, 2009


"Does your definition of sportsmanship include the expectation that an opposing team that is winning legitimately will suddenly stop trying to save face on your behalf?"

So, beating the hell out of them by as much as possible is good for their psyche, while introducing limitations to make a game out of it is patronizing and harmful?

I play monopoly (et.al) and sports with my kids. I should amp up the aggression level in order to not patronize them? I shouldn't use the kiddie rules? When I spar with a kid just out of his teens, I should clock in and not pull punches?

C'mon, that's silly. It's why there's the term 'no contest.'


I watch (or listen on the radio rather) a lot of football. Typically I'm really only concerned with the Bears. When I get a game that's late in the season that is more or less meaningless in terms of making the playoffs (one or the other side is assured or out of it no matter what, say) my only real concern is a good game. If it's not, I get bored and flip on the news or something.

And for the most part, that's most sports fans. They want it close. They want it interesting.
That's why the rules, salary caps, all that, are in place - to make it so on any given day any team can win. That's fantastic for spectators. I don't know anyone who would sit through the fourth quarter of a 60 to 0 blowout.

Exactly the same reason you don't want this 100-0 crap. It's no contest after a certain point.
Therefore you should make one out of it. It's not about face, it's about actually having a game. Not some kind of mockery. Not just for your opponent - that mockery works both ways.

Would anyone take any stat derived from a game like this seriously? 'Wow, you scored 77 points in a game!? That broke the record!" "Yeah, it was against Dallas Academy!" "Oh....well, y'know..."
Like saying you kicked the Lion's asses this year. Really? Big deal, so did everyone else.
It's meaningless. Makes an asshole out of you to pretend it's some sort of accomplishment.

Look at the score breakdown - 35, 24, 29, 12. - So at the half he's up 59 points and the next quarter goes on to score more than they did in the 2nd, but Queal says he took the pressure off - wha?

I'll say this again - the level of competition determines the contest. If the competition isn't adequate there's no contest. This principle is recognized historically through myriad cultures in many forms of game. In chess you can offer a draw, in fighting sports you can throw in the towel, etc. etc. etc. tons of examples of sportsmanship linked to dignity and gentlemanly conduct - in the ideal if not in explicit fact (examples of egregious violations abound).

But nature of sport exists in it's customs, rituals and traditions. It's where I can honestly claim kinship with everyone from Marciano to Ali to ancient gladiators because I've been in the ring and bled as they have. Not because my stats are better or worse or whatever. And all stats have to be looked at in that context. Could I ever have been as good as Butkis or Singletary? Maybe. But it's not some cold stat that's going to tell me that.
Sports are made up of events unique in their moment that can never be repeated. 1985 for the Bears could never happen again the way it did. Even the Patriots when they went undefeated didn't have that kind of season. But they had their own kind of season.
To ask which was better you have to ask "were you there?"
So all stats, all games, must be placed in the context of the game and games that occurred before.
Maybe we celebrate Chamberlins 100 point game, but only as a landmark. And we recognize it couldn't happen today because the game has changed.

And at heart this is just a game. You're supposed to have fun of course, but the serious part of any game is where it is a metaphor for life. That's where you build character.
The nature of sport is competative, yes, but it's also play.
It is fun, but it's serious fun.
There's more to sport than winning. You are supposed to strive for excellence and win within the rules and customs of the game.
What you're aiming for is success, not victory. A win, a 100 points, that's nothing you can actually carry around with you in life. Other than maybe a nice memory.
(And we've all seen those sad old jocks who try to lay claim to that. They never leave high school in their mind. They're failures. And I have plenty of nice memories. Laying in a beach hammock with a couple of naked women comes well before anything I've done on the field)

Another thing - one of the core tenets of Musashi's work in the Book of Five Rings is that you have to soak into your opponent.
That's why you have the post game handshakes and such. You are supposed to develop that perspective. What would I do/think/feel if I were on the other side of this?

It's the same criticisms I had of Bush in Iraq and Ollie North (et.al.) bringing the chocolate cake to Iran during Ramadan - if you don't respect and understand your opponent, you're going to fail. This is what you bring to life from sports. That character. Not the fact that 'hey, I won so many games by so much.' That does you no good in the real world.

Winning without dignity and honor is pointless and leads to the formation of poor habits. Those poor habits lead to losing.
Winning isn't derived from 'talent.' Talent is shorthand for hard work, practice and determination. For that you need the humility to listen and so, to learn. And you develop the habit of listening and working hard and practicing every day - even when you're 'the best,' you don't simply accept that, because - like a win, like a high score, like your stats - it's not a static thing, it's a continuum. A cycle. And all that rests on the habits you allow in yourself.

And the willingness to pursue and sacrifice for those habits, all that depends on character.

You honor your opponent for that reason - the opportunity to test yourself and develop your character in real competition. It's an opposition, but an agreed upon one. You forget that they're there voluntarily and that they're doing you a service and offering you an opportunity to grow and develop and better yourself, you've lost the entire purpose of sport.

The girls who won this take away from it only the points.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:42 AM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I play monopoly (et.al) and sports with my kids. I should amp up the aggression level in order to not patronize them? I shouldn't use the kiddie rules?

We aren't talking about little kids here. We're talking about teenagers in high school.

If you play "kiddie rules" with your high-school age children then, yeah, you're being awfully patronizing, unless your kids happen to be mentally retarded.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe: you keep calling this "patronizing," and you assert that the losing team will recognize it as such.

I counter that it's not necessarily patronizing to recognize a significant performance gap, and adjust play accordingly. In golf it's known as a handicap, and no one seems to object to the concept there in non-professional settings.

In that light, so what if the losing team recognizes that their opponents are holding back? There are respectful ways that it can be done, as evidenced by some of the anecdotes in this thread. As long as it's done respectfully, the game itself becomes fun and challenging once again.

Let me put it in simpler terms. A 100-0 game is a waste of both teams' time. A 70-20 game where the winners self-handicapped in a respectful way at least offers some level of challenge to both teams. Everyone still recognizes that the winners were wildly better, but at the same time everyone also gets to have some fun.

Is it a pure and objective measure of the teams' relative skill level? No, and obviously that chafes several of you who adhere to a particularly rigid definition of "sport." But that's where the nuance I mentioned before comes in... in the end, this is a game, and it's meant to be fun and challenging. The nuanced position allows everyone to have some fun and be somewhat challenged without meaningfully changing the outcome.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:43 AM on January 28, 2009


What if you let the other team win sarcastically?
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on January 28, 2009


Let me put it in simpler terms. A 100-0 game is a waste of both teams' time.

Very possible, in which case the problem isn't with the coach or his players. The problem is with the people who organized the fucking game in the first place. Don't match up teams of radically different skill level in a competitive league.

Also as per the false dichotomy crowd who keep bitching that there is in between ground between whupping the other team, and just passing them the ball.
You are right there is an in between and the coach in this case went there. He put his bench on the court and pulled his starters, he switched off a full court press. It shows in the scores, that or the other team got better at defending. If they had gone all out on this team they could have probably pushed the score past 116.

I'm sorry but from the evidence I've seen, there is no proof of poor sportsmanship on the part of the coach or players from Covenant. I also so no evidence of poor sportsmanship from the Dallas Academy players.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:56 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let me simplify:

The game, and what happened in it don't matter.
If you work for a private organization, If your boss want's to publicly apologize for the Sky being fucking blue and you then disagree with and argue with his or her decision in a public forum, your job is forfeit. Like it or not.
posted by Megafly at 12:26 PM on January 28, 2009


I counter that it's not necessarily patronizing to recognize a significant performance gap, and adjust play accordingly. In golf it's known as a handicap, and no one seems to object to the concept there in non-professional settings.

Fair enough. One difference is that a handicap isn't something just given, it's something agreed upon by both/all players. A golf handicap isn't something that the other player gives you after watching how terrible you are and that you have no control over, it's something that the people playing golf together agree on ahead of time. Or, conceivably, agree as they go. But they agree, and that act of assent on the part of the losing team takes much of the curse off of it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:00 PM on January 28, 2009


“We aren't talking about little kids here. We're talking about teenagers in high school.”

Teenagers in high school aren’t kids? So, what, you’re 15?
They’re certainly not men and women. They’re not adults.
More importantly they’re not professionals. The objective of school is to learn. If I tell you something, if I teach you, I’m not patronizing you. (+what Riki tiki sed re: golf)
Sports exist in school as a learning experience. You’re in school to learn something. If you’re not learning something, it’s a waste of time. This game was a failure on that level.
And coaches on this level are educators first. Or should be. I don’t much see the point of sports in school unless students are learning something from it. There are plenty of private opportunities to compete, at least out here. You think you’re character is developed enough to take on real competition? Have at it. But there’s a big difference between a high school game and a real competition where there’s money or something more at stake.
Far as I’m concerned those high school kids are never going to see real cuthroat competition in that way.

As far as ‘kiddie rules’ if it’s obvious that I greatly outmatch someone, you’re damned right I don’t hit them as hard as I can.
If kids know when they’re being patronized, they know when they’re out of their element. Here it was obvious. So the game should become something else. Just as in an argument, you can cede certain points as obvious or oversimplified or not worth addressing and move on.

Such as your “patronizing” schtick. We get it. Yeah. You shouldn’t play keep away and say “nyah nyah.” Let’s move on to a more complex point - like what to do for the next 30 minutes with the game so completely in the bag?
And, as discussed, there are techniques for making a real game of it. Why the hell can’t there be any middle ground here?

And y’know - how many of you ‘competion’ freaks were actually fucking jocks anyway? For all the shit I read here about how bad bullies the athletes in people’s schools were it’s the geeks I see going for the jugular and shouting ‘no mercy’.
Hell, in my school we were very serious about sports. Our programs were intensive. I don’t know any athletes who had the time or energy to beat on anyone for no reason. Been my experience that the guys with all the time on their hands are the ones who get into trouble. Not the guys putting the time in at the gym.

I played football all through my youth. I remember freshman year during a scrimmage helping up one of the guys on offense to his feet after I hit him. One of the guys on defense who I hadn’t seen in the little leagues said “What are you doing?”
I said “Helping him up, why?”
He said “He’s not on our side.”
I mean, it’s a practice scrimmage. We’re all on the same team.

And ultimately, that extends to your opposition as well. Who, but for simple chance, especially in high school, could be your teammates.

So, ok, ROU_Xenophobe, you knock someone down. Is it patronizing to help them up?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:26 PM on January 28, 2009


Megafly: "Let me simplify:

The game, and what happened in it don't matter.
If you work for a private organization, If your boss want's to publicly apologize for the Sky being fucking blue and you then disagree with and argue with his or her decision in a public forum, your job is forfeit. Like it or not.
"

I don't think anyone is arguing that the school does not have the right to fire him. I do believe some people are arguing that it was wrong of the school to fire him. These two things are not mutually exclusive

The coach standing up for his team I think was the right thing to do. He knew he could get fired and he accepted that. That doesn't mean he has to like the decision. I recognize their right to dismiss him, I can still think the guy making the choice is an idiot.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2009


Smedleyman: "“We aren't talking about little kids here. We're talking about teenagers in high school.”

Teenagers in high school aren’t kids? So, what, you’re 15?
They’re certainly not men and women. They’re not adults.


Oh for fucks sake. Did you totally miss the adjective before "kids". He said "litte kids". Seriously you must recognize that there are developmental stages between toddler and adult right? You do not handle a 2 year old like you handle a 10 year old, like you handle a 15 year old. You don't even have to sit thru a full human development class to recognize that. So don't be obtuse.

More importantly they’re not professionals. The objective of school is to learn.

No one is putting forth a suggestion that they are professionals nor that school is not for learning.

We are talking about athletes in a competitive league.


Sports exist in school as a learning experience.

Or more likely to keep the kids busy and off the streets after school, keep kids from getting fat, and to generate revenue in the case of football. Gym class is for learning how to play various sports, develop physical fitness and get an understanding of team work.
Varsity sports is a competitive inter-school competitive league.

If you’re not learning something, it’s a waste of time.

If you're not learning something it could be argued that's you fault. You should be looking for the lesson in anything you do. That said every game doesn't always teach you something new and important.

coaches on this level are educators first. Or should be. I don’t much see the point of sports in school unless students are learning something from it.

Given. From the testimony of his his students that I read they think he is a good coach and teacher. His team beating another team without cheating, taunting, fouling or endangering any player on either team does not make him a bad coach or a bad teacher.

But there’s a big difference between a high school game and a real competition where there’s money or something more at stake.

I'm sorry my soccer matches were not important enough for you because we were not getting paid. Pardon me for taking my matches seriously and competing to the best of my ability. Please don't belittle these kids sense of competition just because they not at as an advanced skill level as you.

As far as ‘kiddie rules’ if it’s obvious that I greatly outmatch someone, you’re damned right I don’t hit them as hard as I can.

As stated before by me and others if you greatly outmatch someone then you should not be matched off in competition in the first place. I agree that these two teams should not be in the same league. I think it would much more sensible for these two schools and/or other area schools to put together non-season scrimmage games with mixed teams, so the girls could play and/or compete in a more balanced environment.

And, as discussed, there are techniques for making a real game of it. Why the hell can’t there be any middle ground here?

There is, the coach went to that middle ground and he's still getting flak for being a win at all costs blow hard task master, you'd think he was the coach from Varsity Blues the way some people are going on.

And y’know - how many of you ‘competion’ freaks were actually fucking jocks anyway?

Wait. What? Are you suggesting I can't have an opinion on sports and competition because I wasn't a "jock"? What the fuck ever.

I remember freshman year during a scrimmage helping up one of the guys on offense to his feet after I hit him. One of the guys on defense who I hadn’t seen in the little leagues said “What are you doing?”
I said “Helping him up, why?”
He said “He’s not on our side.”
I mean, it’s a practice scrimmage. We’re all on the same team.


Nice story, what are we to take from it? I got you're a good sport and your teammate was a bit of an asshole. I don't think anyone here is going to fault you for helping the guy up. I'd help the guy up, but when the ball is hiked I'm going to knock him down again.
Treating people like people does not mean you don't sometimes clean the floor with them in competition.
Just because I beat someone in a competition doesn't mean I don't respect them, or I hate them, or I think I'm a better person than them.

A team beat another team by a huge margin, it was a lopsided pairing that is all. Even the players on both teams feel this way from the way the various articles read. So lay off the coach for his coaching.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:25 PM on January 28, 2009


MrBobaFett said: "The coach standing up for his team I think was the right thing to do. He knew he could get fired and he accepted that. That doesn't mean he has to like the decision. I recognize their right to dismiss him, I can still think the guy making the choice is an idiot."

I think it was the right thing to do also... but I wish I felt good about the guy's motives. He was basically a contractor coach, one who runs his own basketball academy full-time. He's not just in this for a teacher's salary and the love of the game.

If you believe that all press is good press, then it can easily be argued that Micah Grimes went to the media not because it was what was best for the girls at Covenant School, but because he needed to clear his name and protect his business. He's getting a ton of publicity from this.

What ultimately would have been best for the girls, in my opinion, would have been for this to have quietly died off and been bumped out of the news. Instead, Micah Grimes made a choice that put the story in the national spotlight.

I wish I could say that I believed he did that for selfless reasons.
posted by pineapple at 4:32 PM on January 28, 2009


Smedleyman, I am a terrible athlete. I have been, at an individual level, that shitty basketball team. I have been on the receiving end of the "mercy" you tout.

I personally assure you that when the other guy decides to just stop trying very hard, that it is not mercy of any sort. It is a humiliating, shaming insult.

And, yes, all of that would be different if it were a matter of both people or teams deciding that it would be more fun to handicap a team.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:46 PM on January 28, 2009


RX please stop. Smedley is embarrassing you. It is 90 to 0 and getting worse and he has already put all his subs in.
posted by caddis at 4:35 AM on January 29, 2009


RX don't let the other side fool you, you're holding out just fine. They are mis-reporting the score, and Smedley is barely even advancing on the goal. Go Team!
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:52 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Oh for fucks sake. Did you totally miss the adjective before "kids". He said "litte kids". Seriously you must recognize that there are developmental stages between toddler and adult right? You do not handle a 2 year old like you handle a 10 year old, like you handle a 15 year old. You don't even have to sit thru a full human development class to recognize that. So don't be obtuse"

Gosh, must I? I must be that stupid if I understand your point, yet disagree with you.
Because in the lengthy point laden comment I made, this tangential metaphor was really my sole point. Uh huh.
And I'm obtuse?

"That said every game doesn't always teach you something new and important."

Wrong. Every game is a chance to learn something. An opportunity to refine your skill. Every single one.

"I'm sorry my soccer matches were not important enough for you because we were not getting paid."

You should apologize, given you know next to nothing about the topic of sportsmanship.

"Pardon me for taking my matches seriously and competing to the best of my ability."

Clearly, your ability is substandard because you got nothing out of it. As I said, you can learn from every game. You apparently didn't think so.
Think there's a connection there?
Let's stop treating 'talent' and 'ability' like some mystical power. It's hard work and dedication, period. You work harder than your opponent, you will win.

"Please don't belittle these kids sense of competition just because they not at as an advanced skill level as you."

And I did that where? I'm talking about building character as the central value in playing here. That and having fun.
I'm happy to disabuse any kid that the idea of a game is 'competition.'
Competition is merely a means. You're the one treating it as an end.
Any kids who take that away from sports is going to have wasted their time.
Even if they're in better shape.

"There is, the coach went to that middle ground and he's still getting flak for being a win at all costs blow hard task master,"

I see, we take him at his word that he did that because of his years of experience and so forth.
Ok. The other coach thinks (and stated) he ran up the score.

So what, his years of experience don't count? Just sour grapes? The first coach is clearly 'better' because he won and so his word is more accurate?

Why don't you try reading the facts instead of bringing this other crap to the table?
It doesn't matter what the players think. They're high school students. They're under the supervision of the adults at the event.
So if some kid got hurt, if someone had a seizure, if any number of things happened - you consult the kids?
Sure, it's their game, but it's not their house.

Perhaps the coach went to the middle ground. The other coach didn't think so. The people at the coach's own school didn't think so either. Looking at the score progression (scoring more in the 3rd than in the 2nd quarter) I don't think so either.
But I wasn't there.
Still - the people who knew him and the situation far better than any of us here decided to fire him.
But I'm wrong because I accept that as evidence against him weighted against just his word and the kids who would probably rather forget the whole thing?
Uh huh. Just looked 'obtuse' up in the dictionary did ya?

"Wait. What? Are you suggesting I can't have an opinion on sports and competition because I wasn't a "jock"? What the fuck ever."

No, I'm suggesting maybe you have a chip on your shoulder because you weren't involved enough in sports to understand what 'sportsmanship' means.
And I'm obtuse? What the fuck ever.

Next time there's a discussion on IT or some such, watch how fast I shut the fuck up when someone who knows what they're talking about comments.
Oh, no, you can't re-route a blah de blah. I just 'feel' that way. It's not about computers. Anyone can have an opinon. Uh huh.
I don't know where you get the idea this is some touchy feely point where everyone's opinion matters and it's all about what we think and if someone has hard experience to bring to the table - that doesn't matter because we kicked a ball around for 10 minutes ourselves.
I've trained young people and adults in many things from how to throw a punch to how to survive in the field. The information and the skill on how to do something is easy to impart. The core lessons, those are hard. And that's what I'm talking about.

Again - competition is a means, not an end.
Eventually you unball your hand, you take the stone off the blade, you stop shooting at paper targets. Maybe your skilled, maybe less so, but if you've learned what it means to have heart and you have character and the thousand other little things that go into being a solid athlete you will do well in the real world.
That's why your shitty little soccer matches don't matter, because you didn't bring anything out of them you can use in the world but the score.
And you still probably don't know what the hell it is I'm talking about when I say 'character'.

Seems to me I've mentioned I've read and understood (and in some cases ceded) some of the points made here. How about a fucking clue you understand what the hell
it is I'm talking about. Sure doesn't sound like it.
--------------
"I personally assure you that when the other guy decides to just stop trying very hard, that it is not mercy of any sort. It is a humiliating, shaming insult." - ROU_Xenophobe

Well again, we're not disagreeing on that point. In fact, it's a disservice to the winning team to 'not try hard' as you say. We're in contention, or at least I am, over how. That is, how to make it a game. How to keep both teams interested and learning. How to make a game of it. If you recognize there *is* a 'how' then those details don't really matter.

"And, yes, all of that would be different if it were a matter of both people or teams deciding that it would be more fun to handicap a team." - ROU_Xenophobe

Sure, then there is the capability of finding a solution. One wasn't found. I blame the coaches. I blame one coach more than the other because he had the upper hand.
It's really that simple.
(Again, I don't know that I would have fired him over it, but then, it's not my school)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:07 AM on January 29, 2009


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