Did you hear about the high school girls basketball team who beat their opponent by over 100 points? Christian Heritage High of Utah flat out clobbered West Ridge Academy 108-3. Pretty harsh if you ask me. The lopsided outcome has many asking how much is too much. At what point, if any, should a team show mercy in such situations?
Christian Heritage’s coach, Rob McGill, insists that his team wasn’t trying to run up the score. Nor were the Crusaders (that’s their nickname — classic, no?) trying to disrespect their opponent. In fact, McGill contended it would have been more disrespectful had Christian Heritage taken its foot off the pedal.
And while I don’t know about all of that, I am okay with the drubbing. I don’t think the coach should have been compelled to limit the scope of the blowout. And here are three reasons why.
1. Ripples of the Tiger Mom: It’s official. I’m over Amy Chua. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t find a kernel of truth to her now-infamous book excerpt that was published in the Wall Street Journal. Of all the reactions to Chua, my favorite was written by Annie Murphy Paul of Time Magazine. Like many others, she pointed out that Chua’s piece drew such a reaction because it hit a sore spot in America’s psyche — the “are-we-really-too-soft?” spot. Paul points out that such “anxious ruminations” are prevalent throughout our society, even in the most unlikely of places:
“When the National Football League postponed a Philadelphia Eagles game in advance of the late-December blizzard on the East Coast, outgoing Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was left fuming: ‘We’ve become a nation of wusses,’ he declared on a radio program. ‘The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China, do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium. They would have walked, and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.’ “
And while I’m not quite ready to predict how China would have handled the above situation (nor, incidentally, am I ready to bust out all-Chinese-people-like-calculus jokes), I am ready to say this: Our nation has, indeed, become way too soft. What was once a noble desire to be politically correct in virtually every single scenario has now morphed into a pathological hesitance in all matters potentially offensive.
But the problem is that every single matter is a potentially offensive one. Including high school athletics. So if one team beats another by 100 points? Oh well. What’s the alternative? Demand that team to pussy foot around and only win by 50? It’s still a drubbing. To the losers, I say get over it.
2. The world keeps score: It’s true. Whether you like it or not, the world keeps score. And that fact is not lost on kids. They pick up on it at a very young age. That’s why they want to keep score, too. No matter what the politically correct adults who preside over their games may want.
I’ve coached several youth teams, and one thing that drives me nuts is when a league instructs its coaches to de-emphasize score. Sorry. No can do. It’s like I tell my kids: “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. It truly is how you play the game. And if you’re playing the game as hard as you possibly can, then you’re trying to win. That’s what I expect out of each of you.”
Not stress the score? Give me a break. Human beings are programmed at a very early age with a competitive spirit. They want to win. In all things. And in sports, there’s a tangible statistic used to tell us who wins. It’s called “the score.”
So if a team chooses to continue to lay it on another team as a manifestation of that competitive spirit? Tough luck. The world keeps score. The league in which your high school team plays does, too.
3. The world is full of jerks. And this is where I get a little contradictory. Don’t get me wrong. I really am fine with the drubbing. And I really do have three reasons why. But the last one really is that the world is full of jerks.
See, just because I’m okay with the drubbing doesn’t mean that I would have done the same thing that the winning coach did. I wouldn’t have. Regardless of the fact that I think our country is getting too soft. Regardless of the fact that the world keeps score. I think to beat a team the way Christian Heritage High beat West Ridge Academy is classless.
Which is exactly why I’m okay with it. The world is full of jerks. And one of them is the coach of Christian Heritage High. If I were the coach of West Ridge Academy, I would have told my team as much after the game. You know what else I would have done? Come up with some sort of retaliation (within the framework of the rules, of course) in the event the teams were to ever square off again. Which they do. Day after tomorrow.
I’ll be very interested to see how that one turns out. While I think it’s a bit far-fetched to expect a West Ridge Academy victory, I am hoping that they can at least manage a moral victory of sorts.
Because nothing feels better than when you successfully stand up to a jerk.
But maybe that’s just me. What do you think? Was it okay for Christian Heritage High to humiliate West Ridge Academy like they did?