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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, January 19, 2015

the fairness doctrine

I wasn't going to go with this story- I was planning a Martin World News and not an Op-Ed.  But someone at work brought this story up, and I've given the whole thing some careful thought.

On the 5th of January, Arroyo Valley High (California) girls' basketball team lined up to play Bloomington.  When the smoke cleared, the scoreboard read 161-2 in favor of Arroyo- and a few days later, their coach was suspended for running up the score.  The Bloomington coach complained that Arroyo ran a full-court press the entire first half.  The Arroyo coach said he never played the starters in the second half.

First half, 104-1.
Second half (without the starters and the press) 57-1.

So, who is the real a-hole here?

Well, I did a little digging.  Bloomington is playing in division 3- out of six divisions in CA.  Their average score against their opponents- NOT including the Arroyo game- is 65-11.  Average.  They have scored in single digits in 7 of 14 games, gave up over 100 points three times, and the only time that they have been beat by LESS than 40 points was a 51-13 loss to Ontario the very next night.

So tell me this- why division three?  Why not division six, where they might play a game that ends in the same zip code?  And why, if it was SO terrible that Arroyo beat them by 159, why do their coach and Athletic Director allow them to play cannon fodder to teams so much better than they?

Here's what I'm getting at.  The coach of Arroyo got suspended because his team "ran up the score", "damaging the other team's self esteem".  Just like in our schools, where we are about to lose the A-B-C-D-F system that served us so well because getting a c, d, or f might damage little Billy's self esteem.  Everyone should feel "equal", no matter what the truth is.

My daughter, God love'r, struggled in school.  Mainly do to application.  Why try hard when you can follow in Mom's footsteps- work only when absolutely necessary, mooch off a gullible boyfriend.  She saw it work fine for Mom, and she was smart enough to do it her way.  So what if she got d's and f's in class after class, she got passed on anyway- despite the best efforts of teachers that genuinely tried to help her- and out through high school, if sans diploma, just like Mom.  If the school had made the grade worth something, it might have made a difference.  And it might not have.

Because, let's face it, self-esteem is NOT built in school.  It is built at home, by a child's parents.  And here is where I will take my fair share of blame.  Shenan struggled in a lot of areas, and her struggles combined with our divorce most likely did a real number on her self esteem, as her Mom's parentage did one on her work ethic.  (So why did you marry her mom?  Well, that's a whole other story, best summed up with the words "Chris", "idiot", and "was".  Maybe I'll tell it later.  But it's pretty far afield of the subject here.)

But what Shenan is a good example of, is accomplishment by the numbers doesn't have anything to do with being a sweet, loving person, which she is.  Now, let's veer back to the original story.  And we left it with a question- if the powers that be at Bloomington HS and the California HSAA are so concerned about the girls at Bloomington, why then not let them play at a level they could be competitive in?  Why blame the coaches of other teams good enough to beat them with three girls sitting in lawn chairs, when it's BLOOMINGTON picking their schedule?  I can't prove it, but I have an Idea...

On the second week of the college football season just past, #9 at the time Texas A&M whalloped FCS lightweight Lamar 73-3.  That same day, another SEC power- Arkansas- destroyed another team that had trouble winning against teams their own size, Nichols State, 73-7.  Why on earth would either of these small, weak schools, play SEC powerhouses- at the SEC teams home field?  Because the payout they get from playing one game in a packed FBS stadium pays for their entire season.  Never mind that their players' "self-esteem" is damaged, by golly, they'll have new band uniforms next year. (Parenthetically, Nicholls State also lost to Lamar 63-21.  As Huey Lewis said, "Sometimes, bad is bad..."

So tell me, what payout does Bloomington get for being the worst team in state history?  For being in the top half of the state's divisions, and being ranked 1271 out of 1279?  Maybe the Arroyo coach shoulda/coulda backed off... but I'd like to hear Bloomington administration tell us why they were playing so far out of their weight class in the first damn place.


  1. Chris, I'd say the answer to most any question (that doesn't make sense on the face of it) circles back to money... as you so deftly illustrated with the football example. I don't know anything about hs athletics, but no answer other than money (they get more for playing in a higher division even though they can't compete there) makes sense.

    In no sane world does a coach of the opposite team get suspended for winning after benching all of his starters in the second half (due to a lopsided score). The world has gone absolutely crazy, but then you knew that already.

    1. I was looking at the stats on MaxPreps... they are the 6th worst ranked team in the nation. I know that divisions have to do with size of the school, but if you just can't compete, I don't see why they should even keep the program open. Just give them intramural sports until they get good enough to at least compete. But, like you said, there's no money in REALLY caring about the kids.

  2. You're right, it all comes around to the money.

    1. I'd just like to know where the money comes in at. Does the school get extra funds for fielding the team?

  3. I guess the better team could have given the other team some breaks to boost their moral some, but then that would seem like pandering. It would seem more appropriate to me to fire the coach of the losing team since maybe he was not very effective at his job.

    But in the end I don't care all that much about a game. For goodness sake the players are in the thing for fun and experience and none of them are getting paid for their performance. If they're lousy players then they need to practice to become better or just accept it. What do want to be as a nation? A bunch of losers? We're starting to win at that goal as it is without making losing something for which to be rewarded and winning something over which to hang heads in shame.

    Tossing It Out

    1. In the Kingdom Come graphic novel, this desire to punish victory led to a future world where professional sports shut down in the name of eliminating competitiveness. It ended up evolving a much more violent, more hopeless society. An unpleasant parallel to ponder.

  4. Chris:
    And now you know why I never got into little league sports.
    But you DID nail it perfectly when it comes to SELF-ESTEEM.

    It is indeed nurtured and grown AT HOME...NO amount of money tossed blindly at ANY school system can perform what is supposed to be found at home.
    Therein lies our problem - the decline of the American family as we USED top know it.

    And if any team consistently fails at one particular level, perhaps it DOES bear scrutiny that maybe that team belongs in another "league"

    And when it comes to "winners"...not EVERYONE is one ALL the time.
    Some do well, some excel, and some just "crap out".
    Lessons to be learned?

    Very good post.

    Stay safe up there, brother.

    1. I think it's funny that I never directly said it WAS the money in this case, and yet, everyone sees it. I only wanted to point out the hypocrisy of suspending the winning coach in the name of the girls' self-esteem when it was THEIR coach that was doing the real harm.

  5. I agree to everything you said here, except the "Chris," "idiot", "was." That's debatable. Or perhaps we're all idiots in the name of love - at one point or another. Back to the game - why punish the coach for doing his job? That's ludicrous.

    1. One day I'll have to tell the story of the whys of my marriage, and have that debate. And yes, it was ludicrous.

  6. Interesting even though I didn't understand the post but what I know about sport could be written on a pin head

  7. I'm a little late to the party...sadly, America has forgotten that losing teaches us lessons as well as winning, and you're right-self-esteem should not come from a sporting event.

    I was the worst player on the worst team in my Little League. Guess what? I stopped playing after that year, and found other things to do. And I do not feel like my life has suffered one iota.

    Back in the mid-90's, my friend was telling me how the soccer team his daughter played on did not keep score so the losing team would not feel like losers. Guess what? The kids knew who won and lost.

    Not everyone will win. Not everyone needs a ribbon. What every child does need, is to be taught that they have worth even if they do not win or get a ribbon.

    Another example fo how dumb our country has become.

    1. I think I could have done better in life had someone taught me that winning/achieving/being right wasn't a life or death thing. A little "it's okay to get rejected" would have went a long way.