Sore Winners: When Blowouts Are Morally Wrong

Imagine a High School basketball team playing another team and winning 100-0. Imagine the beaten team was from a school that helps special needs kids. Imagine the coach of the winners doesn’t put the bench into the game until the 4th quarter. From MSNBC:

A Dallas school whose girl’s basketball team beat another team 100-0 has apologized, calling its win “shameful” and “a victory without honor.”

The Covenant School of Dallas also asked to forfeit the game against The Dallas Academy, a school that specializes in teaching children with learning problems.

What is the right thing to do?

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Here’s the deal: A team of special needs kids shouldn’t even be playing in a league with regular kids. I mean why would their coach and school do that to them? By their coach’s own accord, the team hasn’t won a game in four years.

The team that achieved the blowout may have used the game for practice purposes. That is, the coach tried new plays and used the obviously lackluster defense as an opportunity for his team. There is a chance, after all, that putting the scrubs in earlier wouldn’t have mattered. It’s not like the losing team made any points in the fourth quarter, either.

Should the winning team just have given up and stopped?

I put the responsibility for this situation not on the blowout winners, but on the coach and school of the losing team. If your school is going to play in a certain league, then the players should be suitable for that league. And if that league is the only choice, well, the team has to face the fact that they’ll be losing a lot and that they are playing for the joy of playing and not necessarily winning.

Cross-posted at

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