There are good teams and bad teams at every level of every sport. Sometimes, those good teams and bad teams play each other, producing a lopsided, but expected result. Such was the case last Friday night near Fort Worth, Texas. Unbeaten Aledo met winless Western Hills, and the result... a 91-0 Aledo win.
Some look at the score and are appalled that a high school team would allow itself to win by that much. Why wouldn't the coaches call off the dogs?
This paves the way for the worst part of this story. The 91-0 loss was too much for one parent of a player on the losing team to handle. This parent filed an official bullying complaint against the Aledo coaching staff. The school was obiligated by law to investigate the complaint and make sure there was no legitimacy to it.
Let's look at the facts. Aledo's starters only played 21 plays in the game, before making way for second and third stringers. Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan instructed his players to fair catch all punts and kickoffs and ordered a running clock beginning in the third quarter (meaning the clock wouldn't stop even if, by rule, it should have). Keep in mind, his Bearcats are the top-ranked team in Texas's second-largest class, the state where the best high school football is played. Their schedule is about to get a lot tougher. Back-ups need to stay sharp and get work in. Buchanan said he would never tell his kids not to play hard or to let another team score, because that goes against everything you're supposed to do as a coach, but he seemed to have taken all the appropriate measures he could to limit his team's scoring chances.
On top of that, the Western Hills head coach said he didn't have any issues with the way the Aledo coaches and players handled themselves. They didn't do any talking. They just played the game.
I've seen teams run up the score. One team where I grew up beat another team 99-0 and kept its entire starting line-up in through most of the third quarter. I get that. It's not what it's about. But that's not what happened here.
The fact that somebody had the nerve to file this complaint is irritating on several levels. First and foremost, bullying is a serious thing. Kids are afraid to go to school because of it, kids kill themselves because of it. It's a problem, and to lump a lopsided football loss in with a serious issue like bullying is maddening. I have never heard of anybody who has had serious issues down the road because a team they were on in high school got blown out in a football game.
Also, instead of helping your son take any sort of positive learning experience out of it, like dealing with adversity and picking yourself up after a really rough showing, you're choosing to teach a different lesson. It's a lesson that's much too present in our society today... let's find somebody to blame. It's somebody's fault. Let's find somebody to blame for your misfortune and make them pay. It's the same kind of parent who blames the school when his/her kid gets suspended for breaking the rules. It's the same kind of person who feels entitled to something he/she didn't earn, but saw somebody else get it, so they should have it, too. Rather then teaching your son how to handle it, a lesson that could actually prove valuable once he grows up and gets into the real world, you deny accountability.
Good things come to those who work for it and are given an opportunity. I hope the Western Hills team was motivated in defeat and can turn things around. They got the chance to play against a team that could very well win the state title in Texas. Hopefully they'll take some notes and work towards the future. Maybe in a few years, they'll be the ones on the winning end of a lopsided shutout.