Goals of honor

Here’s a story that is close to home.  A few days ago I encountered a report about a blowout basketball game between two Dallas Christian high schools.  For those who prefer not to pursue embedded links, the summary is that one powerhouse school three-pointed its way to an astounding 100-0 win over a much smaller rival.  Yes, I realize the math doesn’t work but the gist is that many of the goals were three-pointers and I liked turning that phrase into a verb.

This is an emotional story in so many ways.  The winning team was apparently caught up in the moment and went for an historic score.  The losing team battled valiantly, never completely giving up all the way to the final buzzer.  And the winning school administration, to its admirable credit, apologized for humiliating the other team.  They acknowledged that the assault showed little class, violated the spirit of their charter, and they actually requested to forfeit the game.

It would be nice, in my opinion, if this story ended there: winning team feels remorse after severely dominating tiny rival and asks the game be forfeited.  But today I chanced across a follow-up article that left me a bit disgusted.

The coach of the victorious team ended up being fired for opposing the school’s apology.  In his words:

“In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed,” Grimes wrote in the e-mail, according to the newspaper. “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.”

Sorry, coach, but the record shows you did run the score up, regardless of how you look at it.  You had numerous options, one of which was to ease up on the field goals.  Another might have been to put in your third string (assuming you had the players) to better balance the game.  Or you could have just had your girls relax a bit.  Instead, that 100 point score became your holy grail and you had the team pursue it with an Arthurian knight’s vengeance.

I don’t begrudge anyone’s right to play hard, and I certainly don’t subscribe to the politically “correct” nonsense that there should never be winners– but surely this event defies conventional analysis.  It really does come down to feelings in the end, and I think the winning school’s sentiments were on target.  Too bad the coach had to be the cancerous wart on what was turning out to be one of the most gracious acts I have ever seen.  Up until then there were no real bad guys in the tale.

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