Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wins and losses, in more ways than one

In sports - in life, actually - in order for a Goliath to exist, there must be a David. Just ask the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the moribund baseball franchise that has spend its entirely short existence in the same division as the New York Yankees. But is there a point where enough is enough? Should there be mercy rules when defeat is inevitable.

Earlier this year Connecticut instituted a "mercy rule" for its high school football teams, mandating that the coach of any team that defeated an opponent by more than 50 points would be suspended for the following game. Now a Michigan school board has gone one better (or one worse), canceling the remaining games of the team representing Oscoda Area High School because of their 0-4 opening record - four losses, no wins and no points. The rationale was that the team was overmatched by all of its opponents (the full story can be read by clicking the above subject line). But what does it say to the players who were valiantly giving their all? We teach our children never to quit, to always try their hardest, but when their elders do the quitting for them, how can that be a positive lesson in life? And what about the seniors on the team? I would bet that, even in this situation, at least a few of them may have had aspirations of football scholarships, scholarships that would have paved the way to college educations. Are they screwed now?

Yeah, it sucks to get your ass kicked week after week, whether it be on a football field or some other field of life. But those are the situations where characters can be forged for the better. But not in Oscoda, apparently, where the easy way out rules the day.

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