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A California high school basketball coach has been suspended for winning a game too decisively.
"The game just got away from me," Anderson told the San Bernardino Sun Friday. "I didn't play any starters in the second half. I didn't expect them to be that bad. I'm not trying to embarrass anybody."
Maybe some of the players should have switched sides at halftime?


Grim said...

Maybe they should have played with half the team on the court.

E Hines said...

So the bench players on the winning team should be denied their chance to earn a starting slot by being held back from doing their own best while on the floor?

The players on the losing team should be coddled for their evident lack of effort?

The coach of the losing team should be excused for his evident failure even to make an effort to prepare his players?

The parents of the losing team's players should be excused for their failure to teach the nature, much less the importance, of competition?

The winning coach said he likely should have played his bench after the first quarter and not waited until halftime for the switch. Possibly. But given the...attitude...of those others, that likely would not have have very much effect on the score.

The winning coach also said I didn't expect them to be that bad. Indeed. On what basis would he expect the other adults in the room to fall so short in their own responsibilities?

What are the losing players learning from this? Not how to pick themselves up and do better.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

But Bloomington coach Dale Chung says Arroyo Valley used a full-court press for the entire first half to lead 104-1 at halftime. "People shouldn't feel sorry for my team," Chung said. "They should feel sorry for his team, which isn't learning the game the right way."

Unless the right way has something to do with scoring lots of points, while preventing your opponents from doing the same. Then he apparently is teaching them the right way to play, since this is his fourth runaway victory this year.

It sounds like he should walk off that suspension into an NBA contract.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Eric Hines you are making assumptions that the other team didn't try. Especially in kids' sports, teams get into the wrong leagues, draw from wildly different populations, have different coaching, feeder leagues - everything. Some games are unequal, and no movie-plot inspirational fantasies are going to change that. As for the bench players getting an opportunity to become starters - I don't buy it. Nothing that lopsided is a measure of whether your 7th-best players is actually better than your 4th-best.

Exactly where one draws the line I don't get. I wouldn't suspend a coach for having his team run up the score. But I can't imagine an argument that he's doing the right thing.

Fortunately, the kids usually recover from these things more quickly than the adults do.

E Hines said...

Certainly there are blowouts in games from badly mismatched teams. But one of this magnitude has to have had help from the losing side--from the parents and coach(es) on down. High school sports, even in California, tend to draw from similar populations until you get into the state tournaments. Even then.... When I was in high school in Illinois, the state basketball tournament lumped all the schools, regardless of size, into the same tournament. One year's state final had a high school from a town with a population of of 900 playing against a school from a town with a population of some 30,000 (all the Chicago area schools had been eliminated early). Nowadays, even the tournaments are roughly size-matched. The populations just aren't that different. This was, after all, a high school game, not a high school-age game in a rec league.

Nothing that lopsided is a measure of whether your 7th-best players is actually better than your 4th-best.

This isn't relevant. No one game is going to make that much difference, especially one like this one. But every game is different from practice, and the accumulation of experience can make a difference. That's especially true for the 12th best player trying to move up--yes, to a starting job, because some folks do teach competition, some folks do actually believe that winning matters, so even the weakest players on those teams try their hardest.

What you're missing here is the damage done the losing team's players buy coddling them as victims. Another anecdote from my high school days and a bit earlier. My junior high basketball team blew up a local parochial junior high team by a reasonably commensurate score--they got three points to our whole bunch. Yes, clearly different populations here. We played each other again in high school--same differing populations, with nearly completely the same personnel on each team. We won again, in a much closer game. The next year, we played each other again, in the state regionals. They won easily. But that was in the days when those who lost weren't babied over their failure, they were taught how to pick themselves up and learn from it and do better.

Will the girls who got blown up in this game get the same chance from their coddling? I shudder to think what'll really happen to them.

I can't imagine an argument that he's doing the right thing.

What else could he have done? Some in other forums have suggested he should have not played the game at all, or the losing coach forfeited prior to the game. What kind of contempt would that show the losing players? He's already said he could have--should have--put in his bench after the first quarter. What kind of insult would that have been? Every team deserves the respect of the other team's best effort--even if that's coming from the 8th-12th players on the roster.

Exactly where one draws the line I don't get.

No knock on you, but if a line of separation can't be articulated, maybe the best place to draw it is not at all.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

The losing team could have forfeited gracefully. Otherwise, the winning team is left with the strategy of putting less and less talented players on the court until they run out of options; at a certain point, that becomes a patronizing insult that's at least as bad as running up the score. Should they deliberately start missing balls?

Someone should have given the game a mercy killing, and I think the initiative had to come from the losing coach or team, or maybe a neutral party like the league that hosts the game. If they want to avoid this kind of thing in the future, they should adopt a rule that the game is automatically won and over if the point spread exceeds X. Anything but expect the winners to hobble themselves so they don't look too good in contrast with their fellows.

MikeD said...

Frankly, I have no patience for "mercy rules" in sports past the age of elementary school. And I certainly have no truck with suspending a coach for "winning by too much." How is it supposed to be less humiliating for a losing team to be told, "you know, you're SO bad, we're going to put in our worst players and still beat you." I'd be more offended at that than having a score "run up" on my team.