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The wussification of American sports

wussification

Sports used to be a game of battle and competition. Now, it’s all about making everybody feel special and giving everybody a gold star. I’m only 25 years old but it’s crazy how much even I’ve seen the temperament and attitude toward sports change over the years.

Recently, a California High School girls basketball coach was suspended two games as a punishment for beating a team 161-2. Michael Anderson’s Arroyo Valley’s girls basketball team simply decimated Bloomington. His team, is one of the best in the state, Bloomington, not so much.

What was worse, winning 161-2 or losing 161-2. The losing coach completely turned things around to put the blame on Arroyo Valley instead of taking the blame for having his team lose that bad.

What was worse, winning 161-2 or losing 161-2. The losing coach completely turned things around to put the blame on Arroyo Valley instead of taking the blame for having his team lose that bad.

At halftime, Arroyo Valley led 104-1 and Bloomington only got the ball past midcourt a handful of times against Anderson’s team’s full-court press. After the game, Bloomington coach Dale Chung told the local media that he has known Anderson for a while and while he is a great scheme guy, he’s not great ethically.

Sure, running up the score that much is a bit excessive but Anderson did ask officials to use a running clock to start the second half and they declined. Chung was more in the wrong than Anderson, in my opinion. Not only did he publicly say Anderson wasn’t ethical, he also said people should not feel bad for his (Chung’s) team but Arroyo Valley because they were not learning how to play basketball the right way.

And what might the right way be? Is the right way getting beat and publicly crying about it to take the attention off the fact that his team only scored two points? Maybe Chung should be questioned. It’s not like his team played an NBA team and only scored two points. They played a high school team from the same area with kids the same age and relative height and size. His job is to devise and offense to score more than two free throws in a game and he has to at some point prevent the other team from scoring. Maybe teach the young girls playing the game how to control the ball. It seems like he is not teaching the game the right way and not even setting up his players to potentially continue on to the next level so they can use basketball to get a college education.

Chung knew his team was nowhere near as good as Arroyo Valley. Maybe he should be penalized for even scheduling the game. It’s not like he took the game thinking it would be competitive and all of a sudden his team turned out to be a disappointing and Arroyo Valley became a team that blew out teams but more than 70 points on more than just one occasion.

I also want to put myself in the shoes of Anderson. If he stuck with his starting five the entire time then I could see the issue but I’m sure that wasn’t the case. I’m sure he stuck his last player in their and when that is the case. What if Anderson let a senior who barely ever played get in the game and gave them the green light to shoot because it would be one of their only opportunities to ever do that? What if their was a college scout there?

And I’m not completely aware of the situation and I’m not at all just turning this around on Chung, but to me, he was being a sour sport about the loss. His comments made the game no longer about his team losing 161-2 but instead about Arroyo Valley running up the score.

Penalizing a coach and team for succeeding is nothing new. In 2009 Covenant School of Dallas, Texas fired head coach Micah Grimes beat Dallas Academy 100-0 and later forfeited the win because “a victory without honor is a great loss.”

Doing a celebration after winning a game almost cost the kids of Perry Hall High School a change to experience going to the state semifinals because parents of the team they beat called up and complained about unsportsmanlike behavior.

Doing a celebration after winning a game almost cost the kids of Perry Hall High School a change to experience going to the state semifinals because parents of the team they beat called up and complained about unsportsmanlike behavior.

In 2011 my little cousin played soccer for Perry Hall High School in Maryland and after beating their opponent in the first round of the state championships they, as a team, celebrated by doing “The Bernie” a dance made famous by the movie Weekend at Bernie’s and often done by many professional athletes after a big play. In response parents of the opposing school called Perry Hall’s principal to complain that the dance was lewd and unsportsmanlike. The Principal at the time cancelled the team’s season and forced all the players to write an apology letter. He eventually re-instated the team and they went to the state semifinals.

Who really cares if a high school team blows out a high school team. The young players will get over it, it won’t ruin their lives. If anything they are taught that if you do lose (whether in a game or in life) you shouldn’t just go work harder, you should just complain until you get your way. It may not be fair to lose 161-2, but life isn’t fair either.

Is it fair that I, as a prospective sports writer, interned somewhere for four years in a heavy capacity and at the end had the person in charge respond to my request for a letter of recommendation by saying they had no clue who I was. No that’s not fair but I didn’t just cry about it and report them to what ever bureau that handles company relationships with interns. No, I took that punch in the gut at extra motivation to work hard and now I own my own sports website that is credentialed to cover live games and I can sit right along side the guy who said he had no clue who I was.

So next time you get tired of players from opposing teams being best friends on the field and wonder where the days of guys with the killer instinct and pure hatred of their opposition went it is pretty clear it starts at the ground level, probably even before high school, probably in pee wee when everybody gets a participation trophy and their are no winners or losers as long as everybody has fun.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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