Thursday, January 22, 2009

School Apologizes After 100-0 Win

Anyone playing or watching basketball knows a 100-0 win is impossible. Sorry, sports fans. It happened in Dallas in a girls high school 32-minute regulation basketball game. The winning team has offered to forfeit.

“It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened,” the head of the school said Thursday on The Covenant School’s Web site. He added that Covenant has made “a formal request to forfeit the game recognizing that a victory without honor is a great loss.”

Covenant, a private Christian school in Dallas, defeated Dallas Academy. A parent who attended the game told The Associated Press that 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.

Dallas Academy has eight girls on its varsity team and about 20 girls in its high school. It is winless over the last four seasons. The academy boasts of its small class sizes and specializes in teaching students struggling with “learning differences,” such as short attention spans or dyslexia.

There is no mercy rule in girls basketball that shortens the game or permits the clock to continue running when scores become lopsided. There is, however, “a golden rule” that should have applied in this contest, said Edd Burleson, the director of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

This game played last week epitomizes the moral dilemma facing coaches and parents in regards to youth sports.

The players on the winning team cannot be blamed. They want to win, are coached to win, and if the score gets out of hand, it's not their problem while on the playing field. Some may feel remorse after the fact. That's the competitive nature of sports.

Coaches and parents are at fault when games become 100-0 massacres. What glory is there when the opponent is physically or mentally handicapped?

I'm an old school practitioner. I see no merit in awarding a trophy to a kid just for participating in a sport. Trophies are awarded to winners for the right reasons: They earned it. As for the Texas case, the Covenant coach should be reassigned but the game not forfeited.

Americans are blinded by jock adulation. The Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college football, is named after the Georgia Tech coach who in a fit of vendetta allowed his players to defeat Cumberland College 220-0.

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