From a sports point of view, the ending of a recent Michigan high schoolfootball game can only be called bizarre. But it brings up an interesting question about sportsmanship: In the wake of such a controversial loss, should you own up to your mistake and accept it -- or should you fight like hell for the victory and never admit defeat?
This was the situation: Plymouth was leading John Glenn 28-27 with :08 seconds left, when Glenn lined up for a potential game-winning field goal. The snap, the kick -- and Plymouth blocks the kick! Game over, right? Well, that's what the Plymouth players thought as they celebrated on the field.
The only problem -- the ball never crossed the line of scrimmage, so the play was not dead, and the ball was still live. Members of John Glenn team knew the rule. Watch the wild finish:
Plymouth was, and still is, in shock. Coach Mike Sawchuk said officials handled the play poorly.
"They (the officials) blew the whistle and the clocked stopped - everybody stopped,'' he told the paper. "They wouldn't give me an explanation."
Wilton said he never heard a whistle.
Plymouth is protesting the game. And it is serious -- on the school's official website, the result of the game is not posted.
And that is where sportsmanship comes in. The players obviously made a mistake. The coaches are at fault as well. Assuming they knew the rule, they should have been yelling at their players that the play was not dead. Should they accept the mistake, learn from it, and move on? Or should they keep fighting and hang on to some hope that the play will be reversed -- and eventually get credit for the win?
Plymouth players could take some consolation that even players at the top levels of football don't know all of the rules. Last year, a Philadelphia Eagles game ended in a tie, and quarterback Donovan McNabb famously said he didn't know games could end in ties. If an NFL quarterback doesn't know all the rules, should high school players be expected to know them?