I guess I’m a cold hearted bastard. I’ve always felt that you step into the ring, onto the field, out on the court; you put up or shut up. Life’s kinda like that; you win, you lose. But you play. Or you don’t; it’s that simple. Or is it?

At least everybody gets one.....

At least everybody gets one…..

What should have been done to protect the tender sensibilities of the Bloomington High School Girls basketball team? Maybe they need to be taught from the beginning that if you’re not good enough to be on the floor, then you should stay home. Or maybe you should just walk away and give up halfway into the game. Why is there so much shame in losing and no shame in giving up? Or for making excuses? Or no shame in crying from the sidelines after you’ve lost, whimpering that you shouldn’t have been allowed to lose by that much.

I just watched a most improbable comeback this weekend, with the Seahawks trailing at 19-7 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. I didn’t see Russell Wilson head to the locker room after he threw his fourth interception. Those icky mean spirited Packers kept picking off his passes, rushing him hard on every pass play. He should have called it a day, asked the NFL for some relief from the pass rush. It’s only fair. Of course, the Patriots came back from not just one, but two fourteen point deficits to beat the Ravens the previous Sunday. How many chances did the NFL have to call that game over and just send everyone home?

It’s quite telling that the Hawks of Arroyo Valley High school had already won four games by impressive margins, 98, 81, 74 and 73 points to be exact. And Bloomington had already lost one game in the season by 91 points. Seems like there’s quite a disparity in the league and it’s not the fault of the girls or the coach of Arroyo High school.

To counter this imbalance, someone must pay the price and it’s coach Michael Anderson. Let’s not cloud the issue with emotional detritus. He has to be punished for bad sportsmanship; winning. And winning large. Can’t have that. And whether you like it or not, the gooey mess you wish to tar him with splatters over every one of the girls on his team who took the floor to try their hardest, to perform at the level of their individual abilities. How dare they be better than the sympathetic figures of their opponents who obviously lacked the skill or abilities to put up more than one bucket? Harsh reality to be sure, but a reality nonetheless.

And their arrogance knows no bounds; they managed to beat their next opponent 80-19 with their coach banished from the sidelines. Apparently they didn’t get the message. It’s okay to be better than your opponent, but by just a little. What type of punishment should be meted out to them?

None. They’ve been punished. They too are bad sports. At any given time they could have chosen to quit, throwing the game in the name of “good sportsmanship.” Otherwise, how could they expect everyone to get a trophy when they continue to show their skills and determination to such an extent that it highlights the lack of ability on the part of their opponents? That cannot stand. Not in today’s world where everyone’s feelings are far more important than the tough lessons life tends to rub in our faces.

Bloomington losing coach, Dale Chung, quipped “People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for his (Anderson’s) team, which isn’t learning the game the right way.” Coach Chung should be fired. Immediately. Never mind that he obviously doesn’t have the skill to field a competitive team; or that he and his athletic director should have done all they could to find a league that his team could actually compete in. Sorry coach, I do feel sorry for your team. They have no leader for a coach. That’s probably the genesis of their problems. What pray tell would be “learning the game the right way?” To demean your opponents by giving up when you’re in the lead? Or quitting when you’re not? By not competing to the best of your abilities? Obviously, his team is being taught that when you lose, you whine. Not introspection. No goals to achieve, no lessons to be learned from the loss other than how to impugn the victors, ignoring the fact that you don’t have the talent to be competitive? Lessons one can assume, that won’t serve his girls well in life. If you can’t strive to be better, make sure you strive to discredit those who are. Someone will give you a trophy anyway.

Maybe I am a cold hearted bastard. I’ve watched my daughters’ teams get horrifically embarrassed. And the best I could offer them was support; telling them that they met a team that outplayed them, a team that was better than they were. A team they should strive to be like. Maybe just maybe, they should use the losses to motivate them to look inwards, find the determination to continue, to improve, to compete. What was I thinking? I should have just pulled them from the game and taken them home, thinking all the while about the strongly worded letter of admonishment I was going to send to the coach and principal of the offending winning team. What kind of father am I?

Simple; the kind of father who swallows hard with pride when my girls walk off the court after a loss with the same dignity and integrity as when they are victorious. That, Coach Chung, is “learning the game the right way.”