When the scoreboard says 91-9 or something similar, I feel sorry for the winners, not the losers.

I’m sure some people would say the winning team displayed poor sportsmanship. Maybe they should have stopped keeping score after the game got out of hand.  Maybe the winning team should have played their bench more than they did. Maybe they should have used a different strategy to not “embarrass” the opponent.

I’m sure some people would say that losing that bad kills the spirit of kids.  They “lose the love” for the game. We should feel sorry for them, right?

In my opinion, winning like that is a waste of time.  It provides a false sense of confidence. The winning team doesn’t improve.  They don’t get better.  It’s more pounding on their joints and another chance for injury. I feel sorry for those kids who just wasted 75 minutes of their life.  I wouldn’t want to be the coach of that team who has to figure out how to keep those kids motivated to work hard to get better or play hard in the next game.

Getting blown out is a blessing. Losing like that is reality.  It is life.  The realization that you have a lot of work to do to get better is a good thing, not a bad one. It puts you in a position to decide whether or not you are serious about what you’re doing. You have the opportunity to decide whether or not that will ever happen again.

These type of games happen at every level.  From youth sports to collegiate sports, overwhelming blowouts happen all the time.

I struggle with this in collegiate sports.  I know smaller budget colleges use these as a way to generate revenue for their programs.  Many colleges use these “guarantee games” to fund their seasons.  The “bigger” colleges pad their stats and their records.  When I look at coaches and programs who have “winning records”, I want to know how many of those wins are against similar competition. If your record is 18-11 but 6 of those wins are against teams at lower levels, you’re just average at best.

Whether it’s 10 year old AAU, college or somewhere in between we can feel sorry for the losers. We can talk about poor sportsmanship or how it was “unfair.”  Or we can take the experience and learn from it since that’s what life is all about anyway.

Let’s feel sorry for the winners who learned nothing from the experience.  They wasted their time and put more stress on their bodies. They probably got away with doing things that they wouldn’t get away with against competition similar to them.

I don’t condone winning by 80 points. Unless they were in my conference or league, I wouldn’t want to even schedule that game. However, I wouldn’t mind losing by 80 if that’s what we needed to make us better.


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