The Politics of Winning

In the case of Covenant School’s 100-0 victory over Dallas Academy, an institution whose focus is in the education of students with various disabilities, there is a clear villain, and it isn’t Covenant High’s Lady Knights.

Rather, the forced forfeiture from the winning team serves as a lightning rod of sharp rebuke against Covenant’s board. Regardless of the margin of victory, be it 10, 100 or 300 points, their patronizing forfeit has done damage not only against their own students, already an unforgivable sin, but has also cast dishonor upon Dallas Academy’s valiant sportspersons.

All teams, regardless of personal skill, resources or experience, come onto the court fully expecting that there be but two possible outcomes at the end of the day: either they garner victory, or they suffer defeat. They also know that it is the same level of skill, team cohesion, and even how much bigger and richer their schools are that affects and skews the possibility of victory – and defeat – both for and against them.

Yet we cheer on the underdogs, knowing full well that they’re stacked up against Himalayas-sized odds. Yet the underdogs, such as the case with Dallas Academy, will still fight tooth and nail for every point on the scoreboard, regardless of how obvious their disadvantage. Even if they know they have but a snowball’s survival rate in Hell, they’ll do their damnest to make sure that, win or lose, there will be at least two assurances at the end of the day.

Even if they lose, even if they get completely dominated, it will not have been for lack of trying, or any weaknesses of spirit. And that the winning team will know that, no matter how big the margin, they weren’t handed an overwhelming victory – they earned it via the sheer margin of skill.

By all accounts, the losing team had pushed themselves to their extent of their current abilities. By all accounts, the Knights could not have been accused of treating them as anything but equals upon the court – that is to say, with the full honor a fellow athlete deserves.

Covenant’s patronizing forfeiture sends a clear and opposite message to its own team’s conduct: you are not worthy to be considered an opponent. You are worth nothing more than pity.

And the Lady Knights? They just learned that if you shine too bright, even for a moment, you will be noticed – and extinguished.

They fired the Knights’ coach for teaching his girls to conduct themselves as champions. Covenant’s board ought to be fired for teaching their girls to strive for nothing beyond mediocrity.

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~ by Gonzo Mehum on January 29, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Politics of Winning”

  1. Dallas Academy hasn’t won a game in 4 years. How about they get the championship. This is normally the sort of thing that would be solved by divisions. The fact that school still HAS a basketball team competing in whatever league they are in is already borderline charity.

  2. While I think the nature of the opponents is what propelled this to the newspaper, I think there might be a more fundamental objection here – the Covenant players and coaches could be rightly accused of running up the score, which while not against the rules of the game, is certainly seen as a violation of its spirit. Perhaps the Knights’ coach tried his best to make sure things didn’t get too bad, and this still resulted. That’s certainly what he implies in not apologizing for the victory.

    The closest analogue here might be the rumors (confirmed or no) that Japanese ball teams will let their opponents back into the game if it looks like a rout, just long enough to make it look respectable without actually endangering the victory. I don’t think it would be possible here, but I think that’s what most people are looking for.

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