Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Can you win too much?

Not if the job is worth doing or the game is worth playing to begin with, and is done honorably and well.

Consider the case of Micah Grimes, the coach of a Texas high school basketball team that beat another team 100 to zero. Covenant School recently fired Coach Grimes for failing to apologize for the massive margin of victory. Covenant School had posted a message on its website expressing regrets over the lopsided scale of the triumph, calling it “shameful and an embarrassment.”

Now, nobody is claiming the Covenant girls smashed the kneecaps of the Dallas Academy girls. The Academy players have a very long losing streak under the belts, and didn’t seem all that traumatized by their huge loss when interviewed about it on ABC News. In fact, they showed some pluck and eagerness to keep improving their game to try to improve their chances. As losers go, they have a winning attitude.

Coach Grimes, on the hand, lost . . . his job. He stated publicly that his values would not allow him “to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.” Shortly afterward, Covenant School fired him.

The school did wrong. Coach Grimes did right to exhibit that integrity. There isn’t any rule in any sport that says the team that is winning must stop trying to win.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor

15 Comments

  1. Lyle R. Rolfe says:

    Paul, you’re right–there is no rule that says you must stop winning. But I think it would be a common courtesy to slow down a bit after you get to 40 or 50 to zero or maybe even sooner, depending on the team. Put your last string players in and let them get some experience. What difference will it make to the winning team that they won by 25, 50 or 100 points? Does it make them look any better considering the skill of the team they were playing? Even the Harlem Globe Trotters let their opponents make some points. I wonder how this team would have felt if they had the same treatment. I read somewhere that the losing team players were a bit “slow” but am not sure whether that was correct. But if so, that’s even more reason to slow down. The winning team would looked much better in the eyes of everyone in the audience if they would have let the other team score a few points. What harm would this have done to the winning team? None. I will agree that firing the coach was not the right thing to do and agree that he should not be forced to appologize for winning, but he could have shown some good sportsmanship by saying something to make the other players feel better. Thanks for allowing me to give my thoughts. Lyle R. Rolfe in Aurora, Il.

  2. Art Freeman says:

    Winning is not everything. Your approach with this one surprises and disappoints me. I admit I think the losing team had substantially more guts and integrity than the winning team. Not a classy article and not a classy coach.

  3. G Hadley says:

    What example does a coach establish if he tells a competitive athlete to “slow down” or to “let them score.” Did the coach not let his substitutes play? Have you never seen a college football team reinsert its first team players if the losing team gets close to the end zone and the winners want to preserve a shutout, even if the score is 50-0?

    Maybe some good could come from this if Coventry would agree to scrimmage against the Academy team and Coach Grimes would help coach the girls on Academy. Maybe the girls on Coventry could teach the girls on Academy some of the skills they apparently have in abundance. The Coventry girls might show them what they need to practice.

    Let’s look for a positive future rather than just bashing one side or the other.

    I wish I had just once been on a team that was so good that it could crush and opponent like that and I would have hated it if my coach had told me/us that we had to let the opponents score so he could keep his job.

  4. G Hadley says:

    Would it be possible to find out some more facts about this game? For example, what were the scores by quarter (or half?) How many players played (and scored) for Coventry (and who were the starters?)

  5. G Hadley says:

    Lyle Rolfe:

    If your first string has gone all out and then are benched so the “last string” players are finally getting a chance to play maybe many more minutes than they normally do, do you think it really fair to them to say you have to play slow, miss your shots, play poor defense so the other team can score?

    How do the Academy girls feel if they are disrespected so much that Coventry’s “last string” is standing around letting them score a few meaningless points? Does that make them feel good or does it just keep the game out of the national news?

    Right on Mr. Jacob !

  6. Charlie Seng says:

    Paul, I admire and agree with your take on this, but if anyone expects any kind of common sense out of schools in this politically correct world we now live in, we are dreaming. This whole episode should have stopped after the game ended but the officious school authorities and media blew it out of proportion. As we all know, if left to themselves, the two teams would have handled this without interference. We’ve now got a media that has to make a big deal out of every perceived “hurt” and school authorities have learned that instead of using common sense, they have to make an example every time there is a case that goes outside of the expected. Thanks for your usual common sense.

    Charlie Seng
    Lancaster, SC

  7. D Hinckley says:

    Unfortunatly common sense in the bible belt does not always prevail. I think Academy should hire Coach Grimes. As a former Texas educator I’ve seen more bizarre things than that in the Texas public eduation system.

    Doug
    Kuwait

  8. F. Shadwick says:

    Winning may not be everything. But it IS the point of the game, to pit skill against skill and see who has the best. I am surprised to find mindless, emotional responses here. This is not common sense, this is begging for mediocrity, the quest of today’s underachievers.

  9. Joe Chapala says:

    Paul there is some good commentary here. I think that sport holds a special place in the minds of most people. ‘Running up the score’ usually is frowned upon.

    When it comes to NCAA men’s nationwide team football rankings, part of the formula for those rankings includes the scoring and margin of victory. And therefore, in that case there is incentive to run up the score.

    If Micah Grimes was the coach of the high school speech and debate team for Covenant School and they beat their competition by wide margins, I believe that they would have been praised.

    So in that regard there is a double standard between sport and academic achievement.

    Joe Chapala
    Casa Preciosa Ajijic, Mexico

  10. Don Madden says:

    Can the coach be fired twice? I say rehire him and then fire him again. This molder of character belongs no where near a youth team.

    If you are a pro team then you pays your nickel and you takes your chances. But high school? Please.

    The coach should have instituted the no layup rule for his own team; or the pass ten times before taking a jump shot off a screen rule. He could have worked on his four corners game; his defensive switching from zone to man to zone trap defense; or any one of a dozen other strategies designed to keep the game interesting and meaningful for the winners without humiliating the losers.

    Jerks like this guy come around every few years. They should be shunned as the low class losers they are. Payback usually comes to the offending school long after the coach has moved on.

  11. Nathan Myers says:

    He has every right to let his players use their potential. If that means winning 100-0, then so be it. The objects in sports has always been to see wich team can cream the other and by how much.

  12. Coach fired for not apologizing for 100-0 Win …

    ( Below is a commentary which I think will give us all some food for thought.)

    Can you win too much?
    Not if the job is worth doing or the game is worth playing to begin with, and is done honorably and well.
    Consider the case of Micah……

  13. Mary Bodily says:

    I am sure we do not know all the things that went on behind the scenes, however, in today’s age of “let’s not hurt the other person’s, or in this case, team’s feelings, the coach made a big mistake. In reality it doesn’t hurt to have people loose, even badly, as long as they have the inspiration to pick up the pieces and move forward. This is life, and it always has been. We do have very pampered children nowdays that have a difficult time in the real world.

  14. Marquesa says:

    I’m sorry but I mistakenly believed that the job of a coach was to encourage his team to do their best? This school has shown the team members only disrespect and is encouraging and even inviting mediocrity by the students. I hope the coach finds a place to teach where they value the way he coaches and encourages his players to do their very best every minute of every day.

  15. Roger Lamprey says:

    As is often the case, we don’t know enough of the relevant facts. How long did Coach Grimes keep his starters in the game? How much playing time did his low-end players get? Was there any taunting or poor sportsmanship? It is interesting to see how some college football coaches always seem to try to run up the score, while others are content to win. I admire the latter much more than the former, all else being equal.

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