Screw you guys, I’m going home

If any of the players on the Dallas Academy girls basketball team had said that a week ago, would you have blamed them?

If the name of the school isn’t ringing a bell for you, don’t feel bad.  Dallas Academy is the definition of a small institution, with only twenty girls in its high school and only eight players on its varsity basketball squad.  Not surprisingly, Dallas Academy is about as far away from a sports juggernaut as you would expect — the girls hoops team hasn’t won a game in four seasons.  The school specializes in helping children with learning disabilities, not with developing their jump shots.

But that doesn’t mean that school’s basketball squad deserves to be humiliated.

Now if you’re The Covenant School’s head coach, Micah Grimes — or someone who thinks like him — you probably disagree strongly with that statement.  Of course, you’re also likely the type that bullied and beat up the kids smaller than you when you were in school — or as an adult, you might be the type to take candy from a baby.  But who’s quibbling?

When Dallas Academy faced off against Covenant last week, it was clear right from the start that the two teams didn’t belong on the same court together.  To say Covenant got off to a big run to start the game isn’t a technically accurate statement, as I would imagine that, to quantify the run, the run actually had to be stopped — which Dallas Academy could never do.  The score was an unbelievable 59-0 at halftime — the final tally, a “blink to make sure you’re seeing things correctly” 100-0.  The “game” wasn’t a contest by any definition — it was an obliteration.

But if there was embarrassment anywhere in the one-sided affair, it shouldn’t have been laid at the feet of the Dallas Academy squad;  rather it should be placed squarely onto Coach Grimes’ narrow shoulders, for his part in allowing the game to become a farce and in allowing poor sportsmanship in general  to take precedence over the true intent of athletics at the high school level.

Look, it’s not a secret that every sporting contest isn’t going to be an evenly-matched battle for the ages — and as every Detroit Lions player, coach, or fan could tell you this year, even winning once in a while isn’t a given either.  But at the high school level, one would expect that winning — or winning big — shouldn’t be the ultimate goal, nor should requiring a “take-no-prisoners” mentality to every game.  I guess I’m naive, but I always thought that athletics in high school was about enjoying oneself, learning skills in sport that go hand-in-hand with the values of good sportsmanship, and seeing every student-athlete better themselves through hard work — and maybe exit the entire experience with a greater sense of self-worth and confidence.

Coach Grim — err, I mean, Coach Grimes — apparently thinks the above paragraph is a load of nonsense — or you would certainly believe that once you read an account of how the Covenant/Dallas massacre unfolded.  According to reports on the game, Covenant players were still actively full-court pressing their hapless opposition even with a 60 point lead in the 2nd half and were still shooting three-pointers while trying to reach triple digits on the scoreboard.  Full court presses?  Was there going to be a comeback from a team that couldn’t get a goose-egg off the scoreboard?  As ridiculous as that approach was,  Grimes apparently not only saw nothing wrong with his team’s aggressiveness, he essentially encouraged it, whether actively in his coaching — or passively by standing by and doing nothing to call off the dogs.

Now I’m not one of those believers in the new-age thinking that “there are no losers, only winners” that you’ve seen permeate competition at the grade school or high school level.  Sports is all about the competition, and the results — both winning and losing — are an integral part of the process.  I played basketball myself when I was in high school, and my junior varsity team was one of the worst collection of scrubs our school had ever seen — we won a lone game my freshman year, the last of the season.  But there was nothing wrong with that — and it was the disappointment of losing that drove all of us to work harder over the next two years, resulting in a team that was a playoff contender by the time we all reached the varsity level (not that I contributed much other than cheer leading from my spot nailed to the bench most of the time, but you get the picture).

The fact that Dallas Academy lost, or that they lost by so much, isn’t the problem here.  It’s in the way Covenant shamelessly poured it on when there was absolutely no need to — unless the goal of Coach Grimes was to needlessly shame his team’s opponent in a vain attempt to glorify himself or his team somehow — assuming, of course, than there’s any achievement in blowing away someone that can’t even muster a token opposition.  I don’t blame the Covenant players for that — they’re not adults, but high school kids, and the responsibility for imparting a level of common sense and decent sportsmanship into their actions is the responsibility of their “coach”, who apparently couldn’t be bothered to give a damn.

Sadly, not everyone gets it.  For example, I heard someone on the radio this morning reference Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game as proof that nothing shameful happened in the game at all.  For that caller — who in making the comparison between a high school girls’ team and arguably the most dominant pro basketball player of all time exhibited a few innate “learning disabilities” of his own — here’s a quick newsflash for you:  Chamberlain was a pro athlete being paid money to play against other adults being paid to stop him.  Not quite the same thing as eight high school girls who may never pick up a basketball after they graduate — and if they wanted to never pick one up again after this, I wouldn’t blame them.

If you think this is a female high school basketball player, you might be Coach Grimes

If you think this is a female high school basketball player, you might be Coach Grimes -- or you're just defending him

Even sadder than any public support for this display of selfish unthinking at its finest is the (unsurprising) footnote that Coach Grimes was completely unrepentant about his role in the blowout; in fact, after his employer attempted to forfeit the game, with the head of the Covenant school Kyle Queal stating, “A victory without honor is a great loss,” Grimes scoffed at the mere suggestion that he should apologize, stating “We played the game it way it was meant to be played,” all the while claiming that he had not “run up the score”.

Sure.

Apparently, Queal disagreed — and Grimes was relieved of his coaching duties Sunday.  There may not have been any honor shown during the Covenant/Dallas Academy game, but at least in the end there was some justice.

And Grimes?  Maybe he can work on his resume for his future NBA coaching career fade into the obscurity he deserves and never again be in the position of coaching high school athletics — or at least one can hope.  But don’t worry, Coach Grimes — while you may not need to make room on the mantle for your “Sportsman of the Year Award”, you can still use it for this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo Award.  You certainly earned it, and you only had to attempt to humiliate a group of teenage girls to get it — a worthy trade-off, I’m sure, in your book.

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One Response to “Screw you guys, I’m going home”

  1. […] One of the most atrocious displays in 2009 of that lack of class was found in, of all places, girls high school basketball.  After reading this, you might wonder where former coach Grimes is now — if I had to guess, […]

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