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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


Poor Sportsmanship?

By now most of you have probably heard about the Dallas Academy girls' basketball team losing their last game to The Covenant School by a score of 100-0. Don't worry. They're taking the defeat in stride. Hardly aspiring WNBA stars, these charming young ladies were probably just happy to get together for a few hours after school each week to chat about boys and homework and lob a few airballs. They were just having fun.

Still, you can't help but feel sorry for these girls. I mean, 100 to zip! They couldn't make so much as a single free throw. To say that they were outmatched would be an understatement.

The reaction to this story has been virtually unanimous: "How could any team with even a shred of human decency run up the score like that? How dare they!"

OK, here's where I'm going to rub a few people the wrong way. I would have expected nothing less from the team that won. In fact, if I had been their coach, I probably would have wondered why they couldn't win by 200 points.

Now, before you think I'm being heartless, look at what the losing coach, Jeremy Civello, had to say:
    "My girls never quit," he said. "They played as hard as they could to the very end. They played with all their hearts at 70-nothing, 80-nothing and 100-nothing. I was really proud of them. That's what I told them after the game." ...

    ... The Bulldogs play, Civello said, for more than the final score. They play in hope of improving skills, learning teamwork and picking up whatever life lessons athletics may bring. ...

    ... Against Covenant, Dallas Academy was surprised to see an obviously superior team keep the pressure on until it scored its 100th point in the fourth quarter. "I'm sure they could have won by 30 points and still had just as good a time," Civello said.
The reason I'm having such a hard time sympathizing with Dallas Academy is that coach Civello contradicted himself when he complained that the Covenant girls could have had just as much fun winning by 30. If the whole point is to have the girls playing "with all their hearts," who cares what the final score was, be it 100-0 or 200-0?

The fact is that he was embarrassed. And who can blame him? This kind of a loss -- not to mention the fact that Dallas Academy hasn't won a game in four years -- is hard to live down.

Still, we are left with the impression that Covenant coach Micah Grimes and his players are mean-spirited brutes because the team was still playing hard until the final buzzer. But isn't that exactly what we would expect of any team? Look at it from their perspective. Coach Grimes spends the entire season trying to get his players to give 100%. Do we expect him to go against everything he's been teaching them and suddenly try to get them not to play their best simply because the opposing team stinks?

When asked about the game, Grimes responded:
    "It's unfortunate we got to 100 points in the game against Dallas Academy. It just happened, and we are not happy about that.

    "Please know Covenant intended no harm against them. I see this as a real learning opportunity, so we can prevent this from happening in the future."
This coach is now made to feel guilty for daring to inspire his team to play competitively, as if it's his fault the girls of Dallas Academy have no basketball skills.

Because we live in a politically correct society that abhors competition among kids, we must see to it that hard work doesn't pay off. We must condemn teams like Covenant because their display of superior skills might damage the self-esteem of those who aren't quite as talented. That's why Covenant has been shamed into issuing a formal apology and forfeiting the game.

What I find extremely interesting is that not one person has dared to criticize coach Civello for allowing his team to be humiliated for four quarters. He could have called an end to it at any point during the game, but he didn't, and yet no one expects him to apologize.

Again, if the whole point is to get the kids to play their best, then it shouldn't matter what the score is. Period. But if we're more worried about fragile egos and hurt feelings, then perhaps parents should be a little more discerning when it comes to their children's extracurricular activities.

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