January 24, 2009

When Winning is Lost

Basketball2One of those spectacles in sport transpired on a Texas basketball court recently in a game between two independent schools. Dallas Academy was playing on the road at Covenant-Dallas. The home team won, Covenant-Dallas “100” and Dallas Academy “0”.

It was the largest margin of victory in girls high school basketball where both teams lost.

One wonders, as many have wondered about this situation, at what point does winning by 30 points or 100 points matter… a win is a win.

Even the ruthless Bill Belichick, legendary head coach of the New England Patriots, has a heart (though there are some Jets fans who would disagree).

Covenant-Dallas’ head coach Micah Grimes wasn’t heartless, he was headless! Leading 35-0 after the first quarter, 59-0 after the second quarter and 88-0 after the third quarter provided enough signs that this game was well in hand during the first five minutes of the game.

Nine days after the blow-out, Covenant-Dallas posted a statement on its website. It concluded with “a victory without honor is a great loss.”

Across the way at Dallas Academy, the team was unified. The school received some major props for character, class and poise (which is like gold in the world of independent schools). They even received some assistance from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

However, the headmaster was quoted as saying “the hell with it” and, according to news reports, canceled the balance of the season. If that is true, it is lost opportunity.

I can see the headmaster’s reasoning. Dallas Academy is first and foremost focused on education, the competitive sports program became a distraction. But by canceling the balance of the season, instead of finishing and canceling the program with graduation, a different message is sent indicating that winning and losing does matter regardless of the character on the court.

All of the teams/schools lost in so many ways. The only victor were the Dallas Academy players. One spoke to a reporter: “Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing,” said Shelby Hyatt, a freshman on the team. “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK.

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