23 January 2009

Get over it.

For the last two days, every time I turn the radio dial to anything besides NPR, everyone is talking about one thing. Nope, it's not that we have a new President (Woohoo!), or that our new President is black (Really, he is!). It's not the economy. It's not the closing of Gitmo (Yay!). It's that a couple of private high schools' girls' basketball teams played each other and one beat the other 100-0. For two days.

So now I'm going to bore myself with talking about it some more.

Granted the story gains a little more depth when you find out that the team who got beat is a school for kids with learning differences (Honestly, I'm not sure what differences means in this scenario...we all learn differently. I suppose it's just become politically incorrect to say "learning difficulties" or "learning disabilities." So be it.), and that they only have 20 girls in their whole school, and that they've had a girls' basketball team for four years without once winning a game. But there it is.

Now, I'm all for sportsmanship. I think it totally sucks to run up the score in a prickish manner (a la New England Patriots), but in my opinion, you can't really blame or punish the girls on the winning team for their victory. Their coach can take a hefty chunk of the blame, sure. But those girls were just doing what they've been taught to do in sports all their life. Go out and play your hardest. To tell them they did something wrong is just silly. It's a competition. They're there to compete and play their best. That's what they did. End of story.

The coach made a bad judgment call, clearly. After half-time, there probably should have been a bit of a different game on the court. Put in your B squad, do some drills you've been wanting to practice, force more passing, hold the ball for longer, whatever. And seriously, it's a bad idea to say, "It just happened." It didn't "just happen." It was four periods of picking on the little guy. He wanted to put 100 points on the board, so he left all his starters in. A win is a win, no matter what the final score is. Bad judgment.

But I don't think it's fair to say that they should have let the other team score. It's the other team's responsibility to score. I don't think we should be defining "good sportsmanship" as "let the other team score." Losing builds character. Losing in a crappy 100-0 game against a school who never took their starters out builds more character. That team has lost every game for four seasons, but they still have a team. If they were quitters, they would have given up on having a team long ago. And it seems to be common consensus that they played their hardest, even when they saw the insurmountable score in front of them. Why aren't we celebrating that? I think those girls are pretty awesome. I probably would have just stood on the court after half time.

The girls on the losing team aren't crying about their loss. Even their coach is taking it pretty well. And at no point did he go over to the other coach and say anything during the game.

The lesson we should all take from this is not that competition is bad. Competition is good. It's why we're all here, evolutionarily speaking (but far more complicated). The lesson, in my opinion, that we should take from this is: No matter how bad the outcome appears, try your hardest. Be the best you can be (Ugh, now I feel almost like an ad for the ARMY. Bastards!).

Oh, wait. I forgot. This is the most important lesson: If you do something questionable as a coach, remember that there will likely be a media shit storm all over your ass, with people asking for your head to roll or possibly for you to be strung up and quartered or tarred and feathered...all because you didn't think hard enough before making the decision. Just ask Wade Phillips.


Killer B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Killer B said...

Sorry - that was me who deleted my own comment. I'm really clever that way. I reposted it below:

Everything was moving along SO nicely. I was really interested in hearing the remainder of this story...Until you had to throw this little ad hominem attack in there:

a la New England Patriots???

I'm not a New England Patriot. I'm not even from Boston, but that was a right kick in the nuts.

Is there a touch of Harx (read: JEALOUSY!!!) in you somewhere, M??? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


Jane Dough said...

I was on a similar losing team once. The only difference is, I quit halfway through the season. Kudos to those baby girls that stayed with it!