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Winning vs. Sportsmanship? Which is the winner?

In late January, a girl’s basketball team in Dallas, Texas defeated an opponent by the score of 100-0. Many people have shared their opinions about this game. Did the team pile up the score? Why isn’t there a mercy rule for basketball games in Texas? Was the winning team shooting three pointers in the fourth quarter an attempt to pile up the score or are those lower percentage shots? Should the game have even been scheduled in the first place because of the disparity in abilities of the teams? Because of the outcome of this game, the head coach was fired. Why, because, he apparently showed little remorse regarding the outcome of the game.

So what do we learn from this game. What lessons do the players of both teams take away from the game. Quotes from several players on the losing team, have indicated that these girls did not take this the wrong way. Several of them have stated that a game like this will only make them better players and more appreciative of what it takes to win. How do the girls on the winning team learn from this? I think this will depend on what their parents and school administrators discuss with them. This brings up a bigger question in my opinion. That is, what do you tell your team in a game like this? If you are the coach of the winning team, do you tell them not to shoot? Do you tell them no to try when you are up by 50 points? If you push your team to be the best, and aim for excellence, how do you not tell your team to not try? I don’t think you can. If you are a coach of a high school team, you will do everything you can to teach your team to be the best, but at the same time, you have to emphasize the importance of sportsmanship.

In the ideal world, this game should not have been scheduled in the first place. The losing team has not won a game in four seasons and is renowned for it’s work with students with learning disabilities. However, the game was scheduled and as a coach, you never teach your players to quit. I think this game touches on two issues. Just like youth sports have a limit to the number of runs that can be scored in an inning in a baseball game, should there be a mercy rule about how many points a team can score against another team before the game should be stopped? Second, a coach should have a plan regarding what to do, if a game like this is scheduled, to teach their players to work on things like passing or defense and not focus on scoring. Lessons can be learned by the players, coaches and parents of all these athletes, most importantly if they talk about it, about their feelings and how they will grow as an athlete and a person from a game like this.

What do you think?

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