Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Son was bullied last week!

My son was bullied last week at his football game!!
That's what a Texas parent is claiming.

Was it in the stands? No.
Was it when he was using the bathroom? No.
Was it walking home from the game? No.
Was it on the football field itself? YES!

Did players from the opposing team taunt him? No.
Did players physically beat him more than what's normal in football? No.

According to complaints filed, the Aledo coaches bullied their son by allowing the score to get so lopsided.

The Ft. Worth-Western Hills High Cougars walked into a buzz saw when traveling to a road game against the Aledo High Bearcats. Final score was 91-0. Y'OUCH!!

Take my comments with as much salt as you want. I am not a child psychologist. But, I have been members of a few team sports which, frankly, weren't very good.

* * *

Aledo is currently ranked 24th in the ENTIRE nation (4th in Texas). FW-WH is ranked 10,812 in the nation. (To give you some perspective our Albany High Cougars are ranked 13,701 in the nation, while the perennial powerhouse De La Salle Spartans are 8th in the nation)

FW-WH has not won a single game this season (currently 0-7). The first three games this season, they lost 61-7, 62-10, 63-0. Aledo has outscored their opponents 485-47 so far this season.

By the end of the 1st Quarter the score was 28-0, and Aledo coach Tim Buchanan had pulled his starting players. By Halftime the score was 56-0.

Game officials implemented a running game clock in the Second Half, meaning that the clock keeps ticking regardless of whether someone goes out of bounds, or not. (FWIW, it was 77-0 at the end of the 3rd Quarter).

*  *  *

I get that they had the tar kicked out of them. I get that it's no fun being beaten up like that. I get that the poor kids must be counting the days till the season mercifully ends. But I don't get how a 91-0 score equates to bullying.

In an interview on Dallas-Ft. Worth's NBC5, Coach Buchanan sounded generally humble. He said they could have easily scored more, and that he was concerned the score might break 100.

Normally, that might sound like smug bragging. But, the way he said it, made him sound almost embarrassed.

Another thing Buchanan said is very important. He doesn't want to get to a point where he tells his players to not play 100%.

From my experiences playing sports, it's an important fact that if you pull up and don't give your all you're risking the chance of injuring yourself because your opponent isn't holding back.

In a hockey game once, I pulled back because the guy skating at me was about half my size, and I knew we were going to collide. Well, I got rocked good, with my heels flying out from under me and my head hitting the ice. (Thank God for helmets!!)

So now Aledo High School administrators are tasked with having to investigate its coaching staff for bullying. This will also go to the Texas Education Agency for review.

Here's what they consider bullying:

Aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.

I could be really sarcastic and say all three of those things certainly happened. But, making light of such very serious charges wouldn't be right.

So did that 91-0 score REALLY constitute bullying on the part of Buchanan and his staff?

No. Especially after the way FW-WS has been playing this year. Add to that, their records from the last two season; 3-7 and 3-7; and it suggests FW-WS simply isn't a very good football team.

Would it have been better to invoke a mercy ruling and end the game early? (Currently, a rule in about 38 states only. Texas, not being one of them.)

From a player's perspective….HELL NO!!

It's very likely that most, if not all, of the FW-WH players won't be continuing on in football beyond high school. Cutting short games just means you're cutting their playing time and it emphasizes the "Winning IS Everything" mentality even more.

Way back in Little League, the poor Albany Redlegs were getting swamped by the Albany Mets. Albany Little League had a mercy ruling that if the score reached a certain point, the game would be ended.

I think they lasted something like three innings before the game was called. All the Redlegs' players felt bad since they weren't getting to play all seven innings, especially the one player who didn't even get to play a single pitch of the game….ME!!!

In all fairness to Coach Kenny, I wasn't a very good baseball player, having made contact with the ball only once in all my at bats before a knee injury, suffered while playing tennis, mercifully knocked me out of commission.

But, I still remember that game 30-something years later and how I sat there hoping to get a chance to play. But, I never blamed Coach Kenny, suggesting he kept me out on purpose. Neither did my parents.

Years later, when I played hockey there were a couple of teams that had players who clearly played in a division below where they should have, so they routinely scored tons of goals against us.

We routinely accused them of "slumming" to run their personal stats up. But, we never accused them of bullying!

* * *

As long as children are going to be involved in competitive sports there are going to be good teams and bad teams. There are going to be close scores and blowouts.

Suggesting to your sons and daughters that the other team and/or coaches are bullying them because the score got lopsided is even worse than if you accused the other team of cheating, and does nothing more than emphasize the end result, and not the taking part, which is what 99% of us can ever take solace in.

* * *

On a positive side, FW-WH needs to keep their heads up. Their final game of the year is against the Wyatt High Chaparrals, the only team lower in the standings than themselves, and who also lost to Aledo…