100-0. That was the final score between the girls' basketball teams of the The Covenant School and The Dallas Academy. The Covenant School came out on top.
As reported by multiple news sources, the Covenant School has issued an apology calling the game and score "shameful and embarrassing." The school fired the team's coach for not issuing and apology or standing by the school's apology. In an email noted on FoxNews, Covenant coach Micah Grimes wrote:
"We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity."
Honor and integrity? By all reports, the score was 59-0 at the half and this team was tossing in 3 pointers until the end with zero regard to the other team and the fact that the opposing team was from a small school of 20 students with learning disabilities.
In fact, it appears the goal was to hit that 100 points. According to ABCNews,"During the lopsided Jan. 13 game, spectators said the Covenant School ran up the score, playing aggressive offense, even with their 59-0 lead at halftime. The girls kept on the pressure until they scored the 100th point."
Despite the crushing loss, the Dallas girls are winners in all the ways that matter: sportsmanship and in being a team. Their coach found a way to convince their players to keep on going and this team never once gave up and found a way to be proud of their efforts.
While there are not official mercy rules, does that mean there should be no mercy? What about compassion? What about the fact that this was clearly a mismatched game?
The fault isn't just with the coaching staff, however. The spectators need to evaluate their behavior and recognize they were egging on a team unfairly crushing another team. Recognizing these are kids playing a game, there should have been some collective unease in the spectator stands for what was occurring on the court. For that to be missing is as disturbing to me as the ratcheted up score.
The Dallas team knew their chances were not great entering this game but viewed this game as a learning opportunity. It was certainly a learning experience and one I'm sure they will not forget any time soon. In the end, the underdogs became the true winners as well as the teachers on what really matters in youth sports:
- the qualities that make a great team
- grace under fire
- the importance of winning with dignity
- the need to emphasize skill building, self-esteem and sportsmanship first and foremost, and always - even during a game
- why it's important to respect the other team
- the value of youth-centric coaching
As one Dallas Academy mom said to ABCNews: "Sports are basically about learning leadership, learning how to deal with other people. It's definitely just not about winning. But we get closer every year."
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