I used to be of the mindset that lopsided basketball scores were a show of poor sportsmanship. Paragraph after paragraph was spent criticizing coaches for pummeling overmatched teams. I accused them of ruining the sport for kids.
Bloomington coach Dale Chung offered a scathing rebuke to Arroyo Valley in remarks to the Daily Bulletin. He said, “People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for his team, which isn’t learning the game the right way.” What is the “right way” exactly? Bloomington has lost every game this season by an average of 56 points.
The 159-point loss to Arroyo Valley is an outlier, but Bloomington is not a very good basketball team. They are 0-16 on the season and have lost by an average of 56 points per game. Their closest game was a 38-point loss on January 6. Every other Bloomington loss has been by 40 or more points.
It’s unfair to demonize Arroyo Valley’s coach when Bloomington does not field a competitive team. Coaches have a responsibility to put their kids in the best position possible to succeed. That doesn’t just mean wins. It means preparing them to have a chance.
Bloomington has not had a chance this year. The team has scored less than ten points in eight of its 16 losses and scored more than 20 points only once. This is a varsity team. They should be more competitive than this. The kids deserve better.
Sportsmanship is about everyone having the best experience possible. Sometimes that means taking your foot off the pedal when your opponent has clearly had enough. It also means knowing that your team has no business being in the race to begin with.