Battleline: Be a Good Sport | Sports
One of the glaring messages we’ve been given over the years is to be a good sport.
But is this something everyone follows?
There have been some pretty glaring examples of overkill in playoff events this calendar year that haven’t done anything to promote sportsmanship. I like to call them “smug winners”.
All smug winners should remember that everything comes in cycles. There will come a day when these programs are in massive deficit.
The two that stand out the most are Ft. Zumwalt South’s 21-0 girls’ soccer district win over Warrenton last Saturday and Incarnate Word Academy’s 105-26 girls’ basketball district win over Marquette.
Imagine what would have happened if there had been no clemency rules? The football game ended at halftime while the basketball game had a running clock.
For Ft. it took less than a minute. Zumwalt South is basically going to win the football game. After 35 seconds it was 2-0. But score 21 goals in 40 minutes?
Three players were responsible for 16 of those goals, meaning there weren’t many substitutes. I understand that a team has to give their best, but that doesn’t mean that you have to keep attacking.
Union played Warrenton less than a week before the county game. Union head coach Matt Fennessey used all of his healthy players, moving players to other positions and giving the reserves vital playing time. Yes, the game ended 8-0, but before that happened, it was the second half.
Should an injury occur in the postseason, it may be necessary to deploy reserves and move players. There may also be times when a team needs to work on possession to maintain an advantage.
Speaking to local coaches, it is clear that not only do they expect discipline, they would be fired if they ever did anything like it.
It’s a little different in basketball. There are fewer and fewer players on the field, but there are ways not to attack the basket.
I’ve heard Incarnate Word “prove a point” in a disagreement with someone at Marquette. Does that make a difference? That shouldn’t be the case.
The game was obviously in good hands. By my count using MSHSAA records, Incarnate Word has won its last 100 games. It hasn’t been stopped in the state playoffs since COVID-19 halted the postseason in 2020. And you’ll have to go back to March 19, 2015 to find out when it last lost a playoff game (to Owensville in Class 4). match for third place).
It was not the first time that such a result was achieved. The Red Knights opened the season with a 98-12 win over Villa Duchesne.
Like soccer, you can swap and move players. You can stop trying three-point baskets. Since there is no shot clock (yet), you can play the ball forever and work on ongoing moves.
There’s no reason a game should get out of hand, and this is a program that should know better. This may be the best girls’ basketball team in the state, but it’s also the most hated.
There’s one more reason to get the wins and keep going. Strange things happen when games get too out of hand. It only takes a moment of frustration for something to happen and there’s an injury that could change a team’s entire future after the season.
Why should this be possible at all? If you win, or know that there’s a 99 percent chance of winning and you’re clearly ahead, show a little humility.
Act like you’ve been there before. The programs in both examples have won multiple state titles.
Results like 105-26 and a 161-2 game in California should be strong arguments against introducing a shot clock for high school games.
However, it seems only a matter of time before we are forced to make this change. NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) has approved this.
NFHS also dropped another bombshell on high school basketball last week, announcing big changes to foul counting and free throw shooting.
Each quarter is counted, not each half, with five being the threshold for non-shooting fouls resulting in free throws.
And the one-and-bonus situations are also a thing of the past. All foul situations after the five are counted as two-shot fouls.
There were other changes, such as the placement of inbound spots.
The committee that made the new foul recommendations said there are higher injury rates on rebound plays and that this should reduce rough play. Also, it is expected to promote game flow.
The change I would like would be for a team to be given three free throw chances after a certain number of fouls. This would encourage game flow, force teams to act defensively and reduce persistent fouling from teams behind who need to catch up late in the game. This is common, especially when the deficit is too big to make up.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with the new rule changes. Very often the high school athletes were used as guinea pigs to see if an idea would work.
Sometimes changes work well. In other cases, they completely change the game (e.g. rally scoring in volleyball) and the way it is played.