You’re My Boy, Blue!

Photo courtesy of fondoescritorio.net

Anyone from the US, or who has seen Varsity Blues (Or Friday Night Lights, or Remember the Titans, or any other high school football movie) knows that high school football in the South is a BFD. A really, really big one. They have stadiums that are bigger than some college teams (or you know, the Oakland Raiders). They have screaming fans. School Spirit was invented here.

And thusly so, they are really effing good. Like, really good. Sure, there are some high schools that aren’t quite as good as others, and they’re put into different districts. Or in cases like this one, a really good team is put in a district where football might not be so strong…

On Friday, there was a high school football game in Texas. The score ended up being 91-0. The coach of the winning team is now being formally accused of bullying by a parent of a player on the losing team. 

91-0 is an impressive score. It’s 13 touchdowns and field goals. It’s like Sebastian Vettel winning a GP by over ten minutes, or me winning a house-cleaning contest (at all). And sure, at first glance, it looks like it might be bullying: 91. To nothing. But let’s back up a second:

  • The coach pulled out his starters in the first quarter. He also ended up using his third string players, some of which probably would have never seen action in a game otherwise. 
  • The coach let the clock run continuously after half time, to limit the scoring. 
  • There is no “mercy rule” for 11-man football, but the coach wasn’t aware of the option to end the game early.
  • They ran 32 plays and rushed for 391 yards. Northeast Pee Wee football can do that much. And we’re a lot more into soccer up here.

Additionally, I understand you’re teaching compassion, but you’re also teaching them to not always do their best. 

  • The kids practice for hours a day, and are taught to win.
  • Coaches are paid to coach the kids to win. It’s actually their job. 
  • Compassion is a virtue, but real life is cutthroat.
  • If you want to succeed, you have to always give it 100%. If you are looking at success with a 50% effort rate, you get used to that – you get spoiled. And when something suddenly requires 100%, you can’t do it. 

Sure, it could be perceived as bullying. But it’s not like they were intentionally beating up on the weaker team – in fact, they were doing everything they could to limit the damage. There haven’t been reports of excessive celebration (or any at all, for that matter). And the parent who filed the complaint said he didn’t know how to explain the actions of the coach and players on the way home, and that the kid was sad. Well….people are rarely happy when they lose. Should we institute trophies for everyone? 

Sports should be fun, and you should want to play. But losing, and even a crushing defeat, is part of a life lesson. You can’t always win. You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. And maybe the other team needed to lose this one. 

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