at-risk fragile egos need hugs and apologies, not vitriolic rhetoric!

Via an email from a friend, I learned that a girls' basketball team is facing severe criticism for beating the opposing team by too large of a margin


It's been called unsportsmanlike. It's been called ugly. The question now is whether Christian Heritage (Utah) High, which routed West Ridge (Utah) Academy, 108-3, in a girls basketball game last week, actually did anything wrong by blowing out an overwhelmed opponent.

The winning team has apologized, but the damage was already done. To "fragile egos"!

Don't anyone laugh, as this is very serious:

While Christian Heritage has already apologized for the lopsided scoreline and administrators at West Ridge have said the school harbors no ill will and has moved on from the incident, there are still lingering concerns about what could happen when the teams play again. The two are scheduled to play Feb. 3 for the second half of the schools' home-and-home league meetings.

Much of that concern comes from McGill's personal philosophy. The coach said he refuses to force his players to back down just because they have all but assured a victory, citing a desire to promote values that he feels are limited by contemporary culture.

"Too many people in the world right now allow the youth to not be as good as they can be, allow them to be lazy," said McGill. "Here, I'm giving them an opportunity to live up to the best of their abilities and be proud of what they're able to accomplish. If that's what I'm being blamed for, then OK, I accept it."

That "commitment to excellence" comes at a cost. In this case, it was the ego of teenage girls that was affected by the effective implementation of McGill's personal philosophy. Given that West Ridge is a school for at-risk youth, those egos in question may be even more fragile than most.

It must have been an unbelievably traumatic experience. But at least the winning team had the decency to issue an apology:

"I want to personally apologize to the team," said Crusaders co-captain Brittany Hurlbut. "To just say if we hurt any members of the team or the school, we sincerely apologize."

Where's my box of tissues?

(Sniff sniff. There there.)

I don't know much about girls basketball, but my tears for them were barely dry when I got to thinking about the serious mental trauma I experienced as an at-risk spectator when I witnessed what happened this past season to my favorite team: the poor Michigan Wolverines. It was so painful seeing them get slaughtered by the Ohio State Buckeyes 37-7 that I couldn't stand to watch it.

I felt their pain. So badly that my fragile ego was damaged by Traumatic Spillover Effect.

Those mean and spiteful Buckeyes had no right to rub it in like that, and dammit, I think they should apologize!

But as far as I can tell, they have not!

And as if that isn't bad enough, at the New Years Day Gator Bowl, I was forced to watch as the Mississippi State Bulldogs behaved in an even more egregious and unsportsmanlike manner -- deliberately running up a devastating 52 points against the Wolverines' 14.

And instead of an apology, the behavior they displayed after the game can only be called a blatant display of triumphalism! 

Moreover, instead of showing compassion or demanding apologies as they should, the media only seemed to aid and abet a climate of vitriol, with headlines like "Bulldogs Crush Wolverines, 52-14." (So much for the idea that they are eschewing violent speech and eliminationist rhetoric.) How do they think my at-risk fragile ego felt when I saw my favorite team being described as crushed?

Is that the kind of climate we want to be creating? Words matter, right?

So where are the apologies?

posted by Eric on 01.25.11 at 11:47 AM


I saw a story on the local TV news about this last week. The West Ridge girls seem to be used to these lopsided losses, but they usually don't have to play against the other teams' starters for the whole game. The Christian Heritage coach didn't give his bench warmers an opportunity to play like most of us would.

steep   ·  January 25, 2011 12:33 PM

Read the article, this isn't a "sportsmanship" issue. Christian Heritage had nine players to play both the junior varsity game, and then the varsity game. There was no "bench". They already played in the junior varsity game, and at least one of them had to play in the varsity game too.

West Ridge needs to recruit some new players, and then practice, practice, practice if they don't want to lose in a rout. That, or just say they had fun playing, and the grown-ups need to get a life.

Ross   ·  January 25, 2011 6:48 PM

Why should he?

Kathy Kinsley   ·  January 25, 2011 7:50 PM

Only "at risk" female egos are due an apology. Men are made of sterner stuff (or victims of outrageous sexism).

Bob Smith   ·  January 25, 2011 8:45 PM

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