You Can’t Win Them All


LukeAnd sometimes, you lose by a lot, Mom.

By Luke Robinson

 

Each Friday night this past high school football season (as well as many previous years), I was a co-host for the Alabama High School Athletic Association Scoreboard Show. It takes a heart full of passion for the game (and a completely vapid social calendar) to take on such a task. Luckily for me, I love football and am wildly unpopular, so I am the perfect choice to man that chair.

If I have noticed anything about this year’s scores, it’s that the number of complete blowouts has increased tenfold. In years past, I would only occasionally see a score like 63-0, and it was usually between an eventual state champ and some incredibly unfortunate team that had beaucoup d’ injuries.

This past season, however, produced a mind-numbing amount of 60-, 70-, and even 80-point differentials.

Are the coaches who lead their powerful teams to 75-to-nada blowouts just that sadistic and hateful? I suppose it’s possible on occasion. It’s more likely that those coaches are substituting en masse, but even the third stringers are pummeling their outmatched foes. In other words, sometimes, especially in high school, one team is so much better than another from top to bottom that it cannot prevent itself from lighting up their side of the scoreboard.

That’s why the story out of Texas this season regarding a blowout (and the subsequent squealing from one of the losing team’s parents) caught my attention. Aledo High School waxed Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0. Yes, 91-0. This drubbing led a Western Hills player’s parent to file a bullying complaint against Aledo and its coach.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, bullying claims are a serious deal these days (and rightfully so). America has seen firsthand that severely bullied kids could lead to severely troubled kids. Troubled kids sometimes do very troubling, if not tragic, things.

Official bullying accusations lead to investigations. That means money and time spent in an era when most schools do not have an excess of either. Therefore, it’s crucial to be sure of your stance before making such a claim. So when a parent uses the bullying pulpit in relation to a football beat down, it cheapens the whole process.

If you’ve ever played sports, someone or some team has embarrassed you. I mean, spanked you like a dominatrix’s disobedient dog. It’s what is known in da bidness as “a character builder.” (After 91-0, the Western Hills team will have more characters than A Tale of Two Cities.)

The kicker in all of this mess is the Aledo team did their Texas-sized dangdest not to score anymore. The team had been averaging more than 68 points per game coming into the contest, and they were up 56-0 at the half. Aledo substituted like crazy and even allowed the clock to run continuously. The Western Hills coach even admitted that the game had no evidence of bullying.

Look, I don’t care how bad your team is. It doesn’t matter if Captain Hook is your tight end, Lt. Dan is your punter, and Lucy van Pelt is your holder, your team has to put forth great effort to get beat 91-0. As if that wasn’t bad enough, some player sulked home after that annihilation to discover that Mom or Dad “told” on the other team! My bet is that that kid could don a suit of armor without underwear and still get a wedgie the next day at school.

Just chalk up your Vulcan’s buttocks-sized sports blowouts to “life lessons,” and try to do better next time. The bottom line is we accept some things in sports that we do not in everyday life, and we should all be good with that.

Taking a beating on the gridiron is OK, but having to absorb one for being different at school is not. Swatting an opponent’s layup attempt into the cheap seats is great, but slapping the popcorn out of someone’s hands at the movies is not. Ripping off your shirt then finishing in a spastic slide after a soccer goal shows enthusiasm; doing the same after successfully exchanging a Keurig at Macy’s gets you tossed from the Galleria (believe me).

My final thought on this story is that you cannot fight all of your kids’ battles. Sometimes your children need your help, but allowing them to help themselves is great, too. Good parents can differentiate between the times they need to step in and those when they need to step back. Remember, the road to your child’s Wet Willies is paved with your good intentions.

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