Get better, or get beat

By KEVIN LYNCH Staff Writer Published:

I cannot believe how people are reacting -- and over-reacting -- to the score of a recent Hiland girls basketball game, that the Hawks won 89-5 over Tuscarawas Central Catholic.

"Oh they should be ashamed of themselves."

Ashamed!? Why, for working hard in practice and dedicating themselves to performing well as a team?

"I hope they called off the dogs and didn't press in the second half."

They didn't press after the first quarter.

In fact, 12 different players had been in the game by the end of the first quarter.

The sad truth is, even the 12th Hawk player was 10 times better than any of the five on the floor for TCC.

And what is the coach supposed to do, tell the 12th player, "hey, you're in, but you can't play too hard because we might hurt the other team's feelings."

These kids earn their minutes on the floor. A great example of this is how many times over the years, I have seen players at Hiland diving on the floor for a loose ball even though their team was well ahead.

Getting that loose ball was worth diving for, because it meant that maybe the coach would recognize the hustle, and give that player a few more minutes of well-deserved playing time.

The sad part is, there are too many schools out there like Conotton Valley and TCC that field teams in sports that they would be better off just playing a JV schedule.

When these teams are in the same conference, they are forced to play each other twice. Believe me, it is not any more fun for the winning team to give up a game against a worthy opponent than it is for the team on the receiving end of a 50-point beat down. The good teams have more challenge in practice than they do against some of these lesser teams.

I sat in the stands listening to one mother complain every trip down the floor for the referee to call a foul. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and explain to her that what she was seeing was not a foul. That's a thing called defense, something her team hasn't seen, let alone practiced.

I have been to a number of sporting events this year in which the sides were so unevenly matched that the games were over minutes after they started, but the games were played out.

I went to a couple

soccer games where one team scored five or six goals in a half while the other team had a hard time getting the ball from one teammate to another. It makes you wonder why these schools even bother fielding a team.

Is it more embarrassing to have 10 goals scored against you, or to have the other team play keep-away until the clock runs out?

There were volleyball games where the warmups took longer than the games.

And there were even a few football games where it looked like the opponents sent their reserves by mistake. But when a basketball score is so lopsided, you get people coming out of the woodwork crying and complaining because one team is rubbing it in the face of their opponent. That is surely not the case.

It is more the result of one team's willingness to work hard and excel, and another's to be a perennial doormat.

I think back to the lyrics of an old Eagles song when I hear people whine about sporting events and scores: "Get over it."

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