Coaches are hired to instill discipline, mentor players, and ultimately win games that lead to a title. However, as some amateur coaches have learned, beating opponents may lead to suspensions and online backlash. Should coaches be suspended for lopsided wins?
Coaches suspended for scoring too many points
A lopsided win is usually credited to the coach who made all the right moves in the game. However, a high school coach from Sacred Heart Academy in Connecticut got suspended after leading the girls’ team to a resounding 92-4 victory over their opponents. The 88-point margin was something to be proud of, and it could have even made the record books, but the school president Sister Sheila O’Neill did the class act of apologizing for the rout.
“Sacred Heart Academy values the lessons taught and cultivated through athletic participation including ethical and responsible behavior, leadership and strength of character, and respect for one’s opponents. Sacred Heart Academy Administration and Athletics are deeply remorseful for the manner through with the outcome of the game was achieved.”
Sister Sheila O'Neill, LAD Bible
However, an even bigger margin was recorded in 2015. The Arroyo Valley High girls’ team bludgeoned their opponents 161-2. As a result, the coach of the Southern California high school Michael Anderson got suspended for two games. Anderson defended the win, saying he didn’t field his starters in the second half, and the other team was just too bad.
Should coaches be blamed?
88-point wins and 159-point wins don’t happen by accident. No matter how bad the other team is, you can always tell your players to take their foot off the gas a bit. The decisions on the court are made by the coaches. When they were up by 20, 30, or 50, it should have ended there. As coach Anderson noted, he was surprised the other team was that bad, given he had already made some adjustments to his team.
We often praise go-getters like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, the ones who would do anything just to win and dominate games. But in this context, the players are still minors and kids. They are not paid to play the game. They play the game to develop good habits and the right attitude. Lopsided wins only result in boosting the ego of the victorious and shattered confidence for the losing team.
Sometimes, teams are fascinated with stats and records, and they forget the true spirit of sportsmanship. In this case, amateur leagues and little girls are still developing the right mindset, habits, and attitudes in playing basketball the right way. Coaches need to manage expectations and performance because 100-point wins won’t do anything good for their self-esteem. Sometimes, it takes lesser than that to destroy their basketball dreams.