By now, most sports fans have heard about Texas high school football coach Tim Buchanan, who faces a “bullying” charge because his football team … plays football really well.

Sports Illustrated reports:

A parent of a Texas high school football player whose team ended up on the wrong end of a 91-0 rout has filed a bullying report against the winning team’s head coach, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said he received notice that a bullying report had been filed against him by a parent of an opposing player following the Bearcats’ 91-0 win over Fort Worth Western Hills on Friday.

Aledo, a three-time Class 4A state champion, is ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press statewide poll. The Bearcats have outscored their opponents by an average of 77 points in each of their four district games, including 84-7 wins over Fort Worth Arlington Heights and Fort Worth Wyatt.

In this case, Mr. Buchanan should wear his “bullying” accusation like a badge of honor. He should hold a press conference and ask why the parent who filed the complaint isn’t thanking him instead for teaching the losing team a valuable lesson: There is always someone bigger, faster, smarter and stronger than you.

When I was a freshman in high school, I was one of the lightest wrestlers on the team. One day the coaches needed someone to practice with the lightest varsity guy, and I got the call. For over an hour I was repeatedly thrown to the ground. Over and over and over and over again I was flipped, pinned, thrown, twisted, smashed and thoroughly embarrassed by “Frankie.” I wrestled in silence with tears streaming down my face because quitting wasn’t an option, but neither was ending the physical pain. My opponent showed me no mercy, but at the end of the day he shook my hand, gave me a pat on the back and let me know he appreciated the effort. I was handily beaten. I was humbled. I became a better wrestler — and person — for it.

Every kid needs to know that in the real world, they will sometimes lose. They will occasionally be faced with insurmountable obstacles and they will be crushed by a superior opponent. So the question becomes: How do you respond to failure? Do you sulk in the corner and complain that the world is an unfair playground filled with “bullies,” or do you figure out a way to make yourself bigger, faster, stronger and smarter?

The parent who filed a bullying complaint against Mr. Buchanan should be ashamed of themselves. Growing up, every kid who plays sports has days when they’re a hero and days when they’re the goat. In the real world, your competitors do not take a knee and let you score to save your self esteem. The truth is, they will steamroll you and not think twice about how it will hurt your feelings. Putting kids in intellectual bubble wrap from the realities of the world outside the parental nest sets them up for failure. I feel bad for the kid whose mom or dad filed this bullying report, because his home life is probably incredibly sheltered.

Perhaps one of the best ways it’s ever been put was by Sylvester Stallone in 2006’s ‘Rocky Balboa.’

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are — it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not point fingers and say you’re not where you want to be because of him, or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!” (Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa)

Three cheers for Tim Buchanan. He taught the losing team a valuable lesson, even if they don’t realize it yet.

Related: Check out Hube’s take over at The Colossus of Rhodey

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

41 comments

  1. Interesting. I also wrestled in my freshman year of high school, but I quit after the next year because I couldn’t stand the head coach (who ironically was also my 10th grade health teacher) and to focus more on academics, since my grades weren’t that good at the time. I eventually joined the Quiz Bowl team and did pretty well with that.

    To the main point of the post itself, this whole obsession with “bullying” over the past few years has really gotten out of hand. And I say this as someone who was bullied in middle school for being disabled (Asperger’s syndrome). Kids need to understand that not everything is roses and sunshine. Not everyone is gonna like you, nor are they required to like you. Sometimes you lose in life, and you have to ask yourself. Are you going to be passive and accept this, or do you want to make the effort to improve yourself? Yes, there are going to be bullies in all walks in life. That’s the way the real world works.

    And don’t even get me started about the so-called “anti-bullying” movement that’s been gaining traction in recent years. Their priorities are so whacked, and all they teach is touchy-feely nonsense that doesn’t do anyone any good. They have a tendency to be bullies themselves, especially when confronted with people with whom they disagree.

    The whole lawsuit is beyond ridiculous. The parents need to get over it and accept the fact that their son’s team lost, and move on from that. People need to grow a thicker skin.

    1. “And I say this as someone who was bullied in middle school for being disabled (Asperger’s syndrome).”

      Ah…A COUNTRYMAN! I too am afflicted with this curse/gift (depending on how Adrian Monk is feeling, though admittedly, he had OCD, not Aspergers).

    2. I wouldn’t call it a curse, Emmanuel, although it can be frustrating at times, particularly when it comes to socialization and trying to get girls’ attention without them going off to talk to some “normal” guy instead of me. I’m surprised you didn’t know that I had it. I mentioned it in my first-ever post from May of 2012.

    3. The ironic thing is, Carl, some of these anti-bullying campaigns might be creating bullies. The thing with something like this, in which a sports team gets its butt kicked and a parent calls it bullying, is that bullying has been redefined to essentially mean: “Anything that makes my kid upset.”

      There’s a difference between someone who is habitually harassed in school because they’re disabled, and someone who has random isolated incidents that are painful. When a painful “loss” on the football field is on equal footing with the kid with Asperger’s who gets picked on daily, we’re in trouble.

    4. Exactly. The definition of bullying has been warped into “anything that makes my kid upset and angry.” It’s a dangerous mentality, to be sure, but it’s very prevalent in today’s day and age. If I were a judge, I’d laugh these pathetic parents out of court and tell them to get a life. You don’t win every game. Things don’t always go your way, and that’s a fact of life.

      Something like that is not even close to being on equal footing with a kid with Asperger’s syndrome who gets picked on daily, although these parents and social engineers/busybodies seem to think so. Again, it’s a dangerous mentality, but unfortunately it is a very prevalent one.

      And it doesn’t surprise me that these campaigns are creating more bullies. That’s why they’re so pathetic and ineffective. They’re creating what they’re allegedly trying to destroy. Like the one commenter, I found that usually a knuckle sandwich would get someone to leave me alone, although I usually wound up in in-school suspension.

    5. Well, I only discovered you a few weeks during a bad night where I was searching for folks that digged comics yet leaned more conservative like me and that’s where I found you and Doug. I haven’t read ALL of the posts you guys have done yet.

      Speaking of posts though, you seem awfully willing to dodge my attempts at collaborating on a shared Universe or Comics Imprint. I was being a hundred percent serious when I said that the only way for the kind of comics we want to see get made to be made is if we got off our butts and made them (at least, the script portions because I can’t draw even a straight line :P).

    6. Hmmm. I remember you asking for advice on the “conquering the world” book idea, but I don’t remember a pitch for collaborating. However, if you look over to the right side of the landing page you’ll see that I refer to my “Solid Snake Conservatism.” Long story short: I’ve always kind of operated alone. I’m almost always open to bounce ideas off of or to give an opinion on a story idea … but I can’t see myself in a collaboration anytime soon. I admit it: I like being in control.

      I would much rather have this little old blog at my disposal for the rest of my life, than to sign some big contract with a News Network where I’d have to run past a douglasernstblog.com post by some stupid editor. If I want to write on Obamacare, I’ll do that. If I want to write on lucid dreaming, I’ll do it. I like having that freedom.

    7. However, despite the confusion at whom my post was directed towards, my snarky nature (brought on by one too many episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Nostalgia Critic, The Spoony Experiment, Atop the Fourth Wall, and the rest of That Guy With The Glasses) can’t help but take notice at the following line:

      “Solid Snake Conservatism.”

      *Ahem*

      Let me go through the list of Hideo Kojima jokes here…

      *Finds one*
      *Ahem’s again*

      Hideo Kojima…is a really bad writer. In the hilariously bad kind of way. Asking for tonal consistency for him is like asking you to share power in a democratic system when it comes to collaboration, apparently. I honestly think he intentionally tried to kill the Metal Gear Solid franchise with his pen intentionally, but because of the surprising amount of fanboyism (almost as surprising as the rise of The Brony) that his games produced, no matter how hard he tried, people kept coming back. I’m assuming since you don’t strike me as a fanboy, your reasons were probably because the story was like a train wreck that you couldn’t look away from and had to see how else it could turn into a cluster of confusion. That and the gameplay.

      The joke, has concluded.

      This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

    8. I’m not sure how old you are, but I really can’t explain how incredibly awesome a.) the original Metal Gear was when it came out on NES, and b.) how incredibly awesome Metal Gear Solid was when it arrived for the original PlayStation. I will never forget coming in after a long night of tower guard in Macedonia and, instead of going to sleep, playing MGS.

  2. I’m 19 Douglas. I too am no stranger to nostalgia, though the games I played were different. The difference here is, the games I generally tended to play weren’t written by Hideo Kojima.

    BUD-UM-TSK!

    1. The Metal Gear games weren’t so bad, but they got progressively worse. I’ll give you that. It just got … too ridiculous. Regardless, Snake is one of the coolest characters ever.

  3. I’m not sure how one could even file a complaint based off of a game’s score. They are in a football conference that tallies wins to advance to the state playoffs….a score is kept, it is a competitive game. Don’t play competitive sports if you can’t take losing. Also, the winning coach said in interviews (and not disputed) that he had his team fair catch all kicks in the second half and he didn’t have his starters in during the second half. These backup kids practice just as hard as their teammates, it is unfair to tell them to go in and not play a proper game. I’ll echo Doug and Carl in saying I’ve had embarrassing athletic days too, we probably all have; but I think it teaches you to be a team, work together, and as an individual learn to keep going to improve yourself.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Patrick. I believe the Michael Jordan “failure” commercial sums up your point nicely. Think of the very best sports star you can think of, and then think of all the times they lost, or missed the shot, or just had a really bad game. How we respond to failure plays a huge role in whether we are ultimately “successful.”

      If these kids literally tied one hand behind their back and still won … they’d be accused of bullying. Like you said, the coach tried to do the best he could to give the second string team a chance to play while still not rubbing it in the other team’s face that they were outmatched. I don’t know what else he could do. You can only look at a bullying complaint like this and laugh.

  4. I have a tough time weighing this one out. You are spot-on about whiny parents overusing the term “bullying” as an excuse for an outcome they don’t like. Kids do need to be taught lessons in humility. Everyone isn’t a trophy winner and everyone isn’t a beautiful, unique snowflake. The parents are sore losers.

    But… there is another failed lesson here. The winning coach failed to impart another important lesson on his team: being a good winner. Running up the score shows bad sportsmanship. ESPECIALLY in a youth game.

    I’ve been on both sides of that ugly score. I played team sports most of my life. I played on a youth-league football team where the scores were often close to Buchanan’s team’s romps. We blew out every score for all 8 games we played. #1. Some of my Little League baseball teams were like that too. Felt great.

    Been on the other side too. My sophomore year in high school, my soccer team would often lose at scores that are rarely seen in soccer. The 10-goal mercy stoppage was used all the time. The best local team was told by their coach to only score on headers when they got close to a game-stopping 10 goal advantage. They still got there. We were awful. It was demoralizing. We went on to be better my next two years under a new coach with a far better work ethic and went on to the 5A district championships my senior year, but that’s another lesson entirely.

    1. What was the coach to do? He took out his starters, he tried to figure out plays that were geared towards running out the clock, etc. So all those non-starters who got a chance to play were supposed to go half-speed because the starters did such a good job? What lesson would that send? If you’re that kid who has given 110% in practice every single week and you finally get your chance to get your uniform dirty, do you want that dirt to be the result of rolling over for your opponent?

      I think the coach did the best he could given the position he was in.

    2. He did. Texas high school football doesn’t have a “mercy rule” like a lot of other states do. Why do you think the mercy rule exists in other states? To teach children a lesson about sportsmanship and humility. Even NCAA baseball has a mercy rule. I can’t agree that the playtime desires of the second string kids should win over sportsmanship.

      You can resign in chess, throw in the towel in boxing, tap out in MMA, and there are many other examples of ways in adult competitions to allow your opponent to concede defeat with dignity. Perhaps Buchanan could have asked the other coach if he would like to forfeit and spare his kids the humiliation when the score got out of hand. Hard to say. Regardless, the Texas High School Athletic Association should strongly consider the mercy rule for next year.

    3. If you’re making a case for the mercy rule, fine — but I think that referring to “playtime desires” of the second string players is extremely insulting. If you put your heart and soul into an endeavor (including the risk of bodily harm for a chance to start), and you finally get that call to show what you’re worth, it isn’t a “playtime desire.”

    4. Really? How many coaches puts the desires of the second and third string players above the game’s outcome… unless the outcome is no longer in question. What message does that send to the non-starters? The opposing team stinks so bad, that even though you aren’t good enough to start against them, you can now play against them?

    5. So on one hand, you’re saying that these kids all just have a bunch of “playtime desires,” but on the other you’re saying that a slaughter rule should be instituted to protect their “playtime desire” feelings. That’s interesting. You can’t really have both.

      Before I realized that my genes weren’t meant for a shot at pro football, I played high school football as a wide receiver. I put my everything I had into it for the chance to start. I went to practice sick as a dog. I came home black and blue with bruises all over my body. I puked on the field and I know for a fact I suffered a concussion. I missed one practice because I was sick, and then after that my starting position was in jeopardy every week. I guarantee you that if I was on that Texas team as a backup I would have given it everything I had once I got on that field. Even against a lesser opponent, the coach could see something in his players that would make him say, “Hmmm, maybe I should give that guy a shot on special teams.”

      When I got out of the military I still wanted to see if I could get my body into the kind of shape where I could be a walk on at a school less known for its football (e.g., University of Chicago). I looked at the height and weight of all their players. I figured that if I could get to 190 pounds of muscle (at 5’8″) I’d have a shot, especially since I’ve always been kind of speedy (i.e., 4:43 mile in the Army). I made it to 185 pounds, but then I got into USC. The rest is history. Are you telling me my desire to play football was a “playtime desire”? I don’t think so. It was much deeper than that for me, and I guarantee you it’s more than that for most of those second and third string kids.

      Ask Michael Jordan — who didn’t even make his high school team — if he had a “playtime desire” in high school. Watch his NBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony… The dude still hung on to high school stuff decades after he became, arguably, the best to ever play the game of basketball.

      If I’m the coach of that team I will tell my back-up guys that we’ll do a lot of running plays … some experimental stuff … but we are not going to roll over and play dead. Not happening.

    6. No, I’m not saying that at all. How you are reframing my argument using two words out of context is disingenuous. What I wrote was: “I can’t agree that the playtime desires of the second string kids should win over sportsmanship.” I stand by that. We’re talking about sportsmanship. Your personal anecdotes are appeals to emotion that only serves to distract–it side-steps our discussion about good sportsmanship. Ignoring those, allow me to address your questions unassisted.

      “Are you telling me my desire to play football was a “playtime desire”?

      Uh, yeah. That would be the definition, wouldn’t it?

      “I don’t think so. It was much deeper than that for me, and I guarantee you it’s more than that for most of those second and third string kids.”

      That’s what’s known as an appeal to emotion in logical fallacy terms. And what about the first-string kids? Should they lose valuable playing time (potentially in front of college scouts) because their opponents stink?

      Dude, I’m not making an argument against your Rudy-esque story of sacrifice that EVERY OTHER KID (including me) who played high school team sports willingly endured to maintain a spot on a team. Not going to do it.

      Let’s steer back to my actual points. The ones I wrote.

      1. Good lesson for the game losers, but a bad lesson for the winners.
      2. “Playtime desires” (also known as the desire to play) for the non-starters does not override the need for the players and the coaching staff conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner.
      3. There are many examples of gracious ways for an honorable concession.
      4. Buchanan wasn’t wrong to do what he did, but what he chose to do sent the wrong message to the kids in two ways. One, you don’t run the score up on a helpless opponent. Two, you don’t continue to run the score up on your opponent using 2nd string. You show even more disrespect to your opponent by allowing your second string to trounce them too.

      You know good and well that I’m not suggesting anyone roll over dead. That’s a gross misrepresentation of what I wrote and beneath you. My suggestion was offering the other team an honorable forfeit.

      Do you agree with the mercy rule? Had Buchanan been able to invoke it, should he have? Or is okay for the second string players to get to share in the slaughter’s bounty once the game outcome is no longer in question. How is that good sportsmanship?

      P.S. MJ did make his high school team. He got his “playtime desire” fulfilled–he was stuck in JV for a year because his coach chose a taller kid to fill a defense gap on the varsity team. Jordan then internalized that hurt, became a JV superstar, practiced even harder, and made varsity the next year. He also misrepresented that story around.

    7. The way you referenced “playtime desire” was not in the literal sense (i.e., “a desire to play”) but as some sort of thing they just kind engage in for fun to during high school that isn’t really that big of a deal. So you can make little jokes you want about how I read it, or make cracks about “Rudy” … but I think it’s pretty obvious you’ve backtracked after realizing how it could be interpreted.

      As I’ve said before, the coaches bent over backwards to strike the proper balance. I fundamentally disagree with you that they “ran up the score” and even the coach said he was raking his brain to figure out how to keep it from getting that bad.

      You always tell your team to go “100% until you hear the whistle blows.” That is what EVERY coach always says. It isn’t “Go 100%, unless you think we’re beating the team too badly. Then maybe you can just go through the motions until it’s over.”

      And no, there is no such thing as “honorable forfeit.” Even spelling it out right now made me cringe. I suppose if you didn’t have enough players to man the field because your team came down with the flu that would be an “honorable forfeit” … but if some coach came up to me at half time and said, “Do you want to just quit? Do you want to just forfeit?” I’d be insulted. No. You go until the whistle blows. You take your lumps. If someone else comes up with a slaughter rule, fine. But you don’t quit in the middle of the game, no matter how bad you’re losing.

    8. Why should I be concerned if someone reads it in a way that I clearly didn’t write but how they wanted to interpret it? You focused in on two words and missed the overarching point.

      Every kid desires to play. Many don’t make the cut. Some because of skill, some because of “genes.” 😉 That’s a life lesson in itself. Which is the point of youth sports: a fun activity to teach children fair play, foster a competitive nature, etc. While competition can be fierce, that doesn’t mean it should be cutthroat. That’s why the mercy rule exists in youth sports.

      And sometimes adult sports. You may not like it because it doesn’t fit the romantic ideal you presented with ol’ Rock up there, but there are many instances of “honorable forfeit” in sports. I mentioned a few already. Should the trainer of a punch drunk boxer who remains on his feet during a dangerous onslaught of blows keep standing until he is killed? Remember what happened to Creed when Rocky didn’t throw the towel against Drago? Should MMA fighters not be allowed to tap out and suffer their bones broken or worse because they must fight “to the bell?” Would you tell a MMA fighter who tapped out that “you don’t quit in the middle of the game, no matter how bad you’re losing?” Like it or not, forfeiture exist for a reason. Pro golfers drop out if they are so far back, winning is impossible. You see tap-outs less in team sports, especially pro, but we’re talking children here.

      Children need to learn that losing builds character, and losing big probably maybe bigger character, but should children who very likely work as equally hard for a spot on the blown-out team be utterly humiliated because the other team clearly outclasses them? What does abject humiliation teach the losers? What joy does it give the winners?

      At the end of the day, that wasn’t a football game. Not in a competitive sense. Maybe, high schools and colleges need to drop the divisions and move to a European “premier league”-style of organization. One where the best teams compete against the best teams and the mid-tiers compete against the mid-tiers and so on. You hop tiers based upon how you did last season. That way, one great program doesn’t play lop-sided matches against truly lesser opponents who are nearby geographically or alike in district size. Competition is higher and games more satisfying when the teams are (mostly) evenly matched. But I digress.

    9. Should the trainer of a punch drunk boxer who remains on his feet during a dangerous onslaught of blows keep standing until he is killed?

      Refs call fights for safety reasons all the time. Professionals who know when the person is at risk of serious medical injury should be able to make that call.

      Pro golfers drop out if they are so far back, winning is impossible.

      Depending on why they are dropping out, that’s ridiculous. If there are reasons associated with television contracts, fine. If they’re just quitting because they’re having a crappy day, that’s bull.

      If you can’t see how abject humiliation, on occasion, can teach a person then I can’t help you. I experienced it, and I learned quit a bit in the process. When I went to Basic Training, they took humiliation to a whole new level… I could not be more grateful to the men who dished it out.

    10. When you have children someday, I doubt abject humiliation via unsportsmanlike conduct will be a lesson you want taught to them. That was why I added the Kicking & Screaming clip. If you didn’t get that, I guess… if I may borrow your phrase… I can’t help you. 😉

  5. Really? How many coaches puts the desires of the second and third string players above the game’s outcome… unless the outcome is no longer in question. What message does that send to the non-starters? The opposing team stinks so bad, that even though you aren’t good enough to start against them, you can now play against them?

    1. You guys make good points, I wouldn’t have a problem with the parents asking the Texas high school athletic association to look into a mercy rule; but to accuse the guy of bullying seems a little wrong to me. Fact is there is no mercy rule in Texas, so what was the coach to do? He took the starters out, sounds like he ran a conservative game plan….I think he did what he could. I think the non starters are aware they aren’t good enough to start, that is why there is a depth chart; and when they do get into the game, they want to make plays too- which they did within the parameters of the gameplan. Again, it’s a competitive league, it’s a risk you run when you play.

    2. “Fact is there is no mercy rule in Texas, so what was the coach to do? He took the starters out, sounds like he ran a conservative game plan. … I think he did what he could,” (Patrick).

      Bingo. But yes, as you said, Lightbringer does make some good points. I just think that calling this coach a “bully” or even insinuating that he was trying to run up the score is just plain wrong.

  6. Most of us who have played sports for a number of years have been on both ends of this situation. I distinctly recall it happening to me at least twice–once in middle school basketball and another couple of times in football.

    Tempers between coaches flared in the middle school basketball game since the opposing coach didn’t bench his starting lineup and was really animated as he cheered his players on.

    The final score was something like 120-30 and I thought the opposing coach was a jackass, but at no point in time did I ever want to forfeit the game or consider it an act of bullying.

    As an lineman in football, nothing sucks more than being unable to block the opposing team to run the ball. And, it forces you to have to rely on the pass too much. That imbalance in offense almost never works out. So, you have to try to block these players that are significantly bigger and stronger than you.

    It feels like going up against a sumo wrestler, or a wall that hits back, an immovable object.

    But, at no point, did I nor my teammates ever feel like we were being bullied.

    I also was a thrower in Track & Field–which is in some ways is even tougher mentally, because it’s a very individualized sport. Sure, you’re scoring points for your school team. But, in most track & field events, it’s really just you on stage, front and center, attempting to put on your best performance. Your (best) score is ranked among everyone else’s.

    I walked onto my college track team–totally my decision. My freshman year I placed last, or next to last, in just about every event track meet I attended, including the Conference Championship.

    I remember looking at the final score sheets and thinking to myself, “My God, why am I even doing this. I can’t even compete against the rest of these guys.”

    The next year, I slowly got better and better. And, when it came time for the Conference Championships in the Spring, I threw that hammer farther than I ever had before. Everything just clicked for me and I went from never having placed to breaking a school record and getting the Bronze medal in the Hammer championship event.

    My point, is that if I had quit after getting humiliated all those times, I never would have enjoyed those moments of victory, or cemented myself in school history. These are things that young people should take pride in, because sports don’t just build athletes–they build strong human beings. And, the character you can develop by overcoming tremendous odds over time, is something that no one can take away from you.

    By accusing coaches of bullying, you are essentially promoting a culture of quitters. Young pepole who would rather forfeit before even giving it all they’ve got. Kids that cringe and go into the fetal position at the slightest hint of being put in uncomfortable situations.

    Where’s the lesson of courage in that?

    1. Tempers between coaches flared in the middle school basketball game since the opposing coach didn’t bench his starting lineup and was really animated as he cheered his players on.

      The final score was something like 120-30 and I thought the opposing coach was a jackass, but at no point in time did I ever want to forfeit the game or consider it an act of bullying.

      Yes, I’d say that coach was a jackass. If his team was up by that much and he didn’t take his starters out of the game that’s a pretty huge jerk-move right there.

      It’s interesting that you brought up track and field. In high school I ran track (and cross country once I left football), and that begs the question: Where does the “don’t humiliate them” mentality end? Are runners supposed to slow down because it looks bad if you lap someone? In cross country, should the guy who runs a 15:00 three-mile be told to bring it in around 16:30 because that’s a less embarrassing time differential?

      In high school I ran a 16:54 three mile. Not too shabby, but it’s nowhere near the state champs. I often wonder how good I could have been if, instead of fooling all summer and during the off seasons, I actually ran. However, during the season I always took the sport seriously and didn’t cut corners in practice. I think it would have been bizarre if the best teams (that were head and shoulders above us) tried to find ways to essentially pat us on the head and say, “Don’t worry little guys, we’ll go easy on you.”

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment, Ken. I really appreciate it.

    2. Exactly–where does this mentality end? Are you gonna have golfers purposefully add strokes to their game? Will the public seriously expect runners to slow down or pretend to fatigue?

      Such artificial policies take away from the essence of competition. Sports are a reflection of real life.

      We can’t control the hand we’re dealt at birth just like we can’t control our competition. But, we have a set of God given talents and we get to choose how to invest those talents to serve the world around us. Or, we can choose to bury those talents, while others (our competition) multiply them. Matthew 25:14-30.

  7. I had read after the fact that there is a provision in Texas for coaches to mutually agree to end a game if it is incredibly lopsided. But apparently neither coach was aware of it.

    I disagree with Lightbringer’s assessment of 2nd and 3rd stringers. It is actually more humiliating to the other team to tell your team NOT to score, or even play hard. There are things a coach CAN mandate — like, in football’s case, virtually no defensive rush, only run the ball on offense, easy zone coverage on pass defense, easy punts, etc. — but to tell your squad to put forth no effort is unfair to THEM, and makes the other team appear even more pathetic.

    1. There are things a coach CAN mandate — like, in football’s case, virtually no defensive rush, only run the ball on offense, easy zone coverage on pass defense, easy punts, etc. — but to tell your squad to put forth no effort is unfair to THEM, and makes the other team appear even more pathetic.

      Agreed, Hube. I’d rather be lose by a huge score — knowing both sides gave it their all — then to be treated as if I was a kitten pawing at some string held above my head.

    2. I feel a bit vindicated knowing there is a provision for coaches to mutually end the game if its incredibly lopsided. However, upon further thought, I don’t know if it would ultimately help. The root problem isn’t sportsmanship or effort or lessons, it’s every team his plays is no contest.

      It’s one thing to lose or even get blown out. But it’s another thing entirely for Buchanan’s team to average an 11 (!) touchdown lead over every opponent. That robs his players of real competition. That’s the only way you truly grow–by facing real competition. You don’t grow in skill always facing Glass Joe (that’s an old Nintendo Mike Tyson Punch-Out reference kids). His players might as well be trouncing a Pop Warner team. It also robs the other teams of a square match-up too. Buchanan’s team is no doubt a juggernaut. Perhaps the Texas Athletic Association should consider moving them up a division or finding someone closer in skill for them to play. The way I see it is nobody is winning these games.

    3. Absolutely. It is ridiculous that they remain in the division they’re in. If I was a coach of a rival team, I’d simply refuse to play them. “Hey, you win. We forfeit.” Maybe then officials would get the message.

      Here in Delaware there is no distinction in state tournaments between private, public and parochial schools. One all-boys school typically dominates certain sports year after year. Rival coaches have refused to play them during the regular season; however, they can’t get around it come tournament time. The school in question has to play schools in nearby PA, NJ and MD … and they’re school much more suited to their skill level.

    4. I respect your disagreement, Hube. But, is there really any difference between asking a team not to play hard and asking them to play with an artificial handicap? Either way, they are not giving their all.

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