The Fort Worth Western Hills school district in Texas did one of their students' parents a huge favor this week. They saved him or her from becoming a national joke.
A parent from that school district filed a bullying complaint against Aledo High School football coach Tim Buchanan after his No. 1 ranked Class AAAA team routed Fort Worth Western Hills, 91-0 last Friday. Because state law requires school districts to investigate complaints of bullying, needless money, time and energy was spent on this ridiculous claim.
Only the school district's kindness is preventing this parent from being the symbol for everything that is wrong with sports today.
First of all, this person knows nothing about what bullying actually means. The parent knows nothing about what sports mean. There are winners and losers and no matter how many would like it, not everyone gets a trophy.
There is no mercy rule in 11-man Texas high school football so there is little a coach can do when the game becomes a blowout. Buchanan quickly pulled his starters in the first half and had their backups out soon thereafter. He even talked to referees before the game and during halftime about clock management, asking at halftime if they could utilize a running clock.
Was Buchanan supposed to tell the backups who work hard all week but rarely see the field not to play hard, not to try and score when they had their chance to shine? Of course not. To do so would be to spit in the face of everything sports are about. No matter the opponent, no matter the circumstance you go hard.
In the complaint the parent wrote, "Picking up my son from the fieldhouse after the game and taking him home was tough. I did not know what to say to my son on the ride home to explain the behavior of the Aledo coaches for not easing up when the game was in hand."
This person is a parent and did not know what to say? Seriously?
You tell him, you played hard and did your best so you have nothing to be ashamed of. You tell them that sports teach life lessons and that not everything is going to go your way in life. You tell them, that you learn from it, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. You tell them that no matter what happens, you keep fighting. That is how winning is done.
Losing is taught by parents like this one. You do your kids no favors by whining about teams winning by large margins. It happens. Some teams are just better. Not everyone gets a reward but if you do everything you can to help your team win than in the words of fictional Hickory Huskers coach Norman Dale, "I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're going to be winners."
Anybody that has played competitive sports has been on the wrong end of a blowout. If you cannot deal with disappointment and losing, you should not play sports because you always will encounter both. I played for an all-star basketball team as a 10-year old that lost 73-12. I played on a Little League Baseball team that lost 23-0. Somehow we summoned the strength to keep on playing.
And at no point, did I wish the opponent would lighten up. That is the ultimate insult. I would rather give all I have and lose 200-0 than have someone stop playing hard and seemingly let us make it closer. Personally, if I was this parent's child I would be mortified. I would tell people I do not share the same last name because his or her actions are pathetic.
Last year, Montgomery had 16 players, mostly first-time starters and underclassmen. The Red Raiders took their poundings every week but kept working hard, kept believing and kept fighting. They never asked for mercy and their parents never complained about teams "bullying" them. A year later, Montgomery has only 19 players but it won its first game. Athletes like that are headed in the right direction on and off the field because they back down from nothing.
Wellsboro's football team went 1-9 in 2010 and allowed 74 and 70 points to Canton and Towanda, respectively. The Hornets did not cry about bullying, kept battling and have improved every season since, culminating with an 8-0 start this year. The Washington Redskins lost the 1940 NFL championship, 73-0 to the Chicago Bears. Two years later, the Redskins beat the Bears, 14-6 to win the title. Adam Wainwright, nor his parents, lobbied a bullying complaint after the Red Sox battered him in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday. And you can bet, Wainwright cannot wait to face Boston again.
The list goes on. Sports is all about challenges and trying to knock them down. Sometimes you do, sometimes you do not. The last thing you do is give up, settle and ask for mercy.
A real competitor would understand that. This parent probably never competed.
This parent probably has good qualities and might be a great person. When it comes to sports, though, this parent is a loser.