Monday, January 26, 2009

Coach Fired...for Winning?

The reason remains unclear but the girls' basketball team at Covenant School, a Christian high school near Dallas, Texas, is without a head coach.

On January 13th, Covenant beat the girls of Dallas Academy in a 100-point shutout. Yes, you read that right, the final score of the game was 100-0. Covenant led 59-0 at the half.

This story ,written by the Associated Press, says that Covenant school administrators apologized to Dallas Academy requesting that the game be forfeited. They expressed shame and embarrassment that their head coach, Micah Grimes, who run-up the score in a game that was far out of reach before the first half had ended.

The apology, in part, said,

"It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition".

Grimes, after having read the school's apology which was published in the Dallas Morning News as well as Covenant School's website, responded on the newspaper's online edition just yesterday:

"In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed. We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity".

Today, Covenant School released Grimes from his duties as coach of the girls' team.

Very few details about the game itself have been made public thus far save for a 2-minute news story about how the Dallas Academy girls' team is taking their new found infamy.

That being said, if Coach Grimes was fired because of the way his team performed, then that truly is a shame! If Coach Grimes was fired because he publicly disagreed with his administrators, that too is tragic!

Since when has learning how to lose been a bad thing? Why must we shield our kids from defeat? Is it not through defeat that we learn our greatest lessons? After all it was Amos Bronson Alcott who said,

"Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also said,

"Noble souls, through dust and heat, rise from disaster and defeat the stronger."

Now don't get me wrong, there are steps a coach can and should take to lessen the blow on an over-matched squad. Replace your starters with your third string players for example. How about making ten passes before taking a shot. But, because we don't know what exactly happened in this game, how do we know Grimes didn't try to take it easy on Dallas Academy? Covenant was attempting three-pointers during the fourth quarter of the game but that is up for interpretation.

Even if he didn't go easy them, Grimes was hired to win basketball games not schedule basketball games. I don't think a 100-0 game is reason enough to fire anyone, especially considering the lessons the girls' team at Dallas Academy has taken from this experience, but if someone must get canned then let it be the athletic directors of both schools. They are the ones responsible for scheduling games and this one shouldn't have been scheduled in the first place.

And what of 'Christlike competition'? Is it Christlike to take obviously bad shots, miss shots on purpose, or post no defensive effort at all just to make it easier for David to get a morale boast over Goliath? Give me a break! What next, change the English vernacular of 'winners and losers' to 'winners and non-winners'?

What I find more disgusting than the unemployment of a winning coach, is the treatment of the story from the Associated Press. The AP goes to great lengths to paint Micah Grimes as cruel Bobby Knight wannabe running it up on a poor, defenseless, small, upstart Christian school where only 20 of its students are female. And don't you just feel sorry for the girls' team when you hear that the team only has 8 girls on it, some of whom have never played the game of basketball before.

Well, that Micah Grimes gets what he deserves then doesn't he? That savage! He's picking on GIRLS! Why, they don't even know how to play! Burn him! Burn him at the stake!

What the AP doesn't tell you is that the athletic director from Dallas Academy is rescheduling the rest of his team's season as to avoid any more underwhelming outcomes (The reason the AP USSR omits the information is so the reader continues to feel sorry for the young, helpless girls upon which this Grimes fiend is preying).

Really? Maybe it would have been nice if he had considered that before putting Covenant School on the schedule in the first place?

If someone is to lose his/her job it should be because he/she did not deliver on the job description. At last I knew, the job of a coach is to win games and put butts in the seats. Can't say I agree with the letting go of a coach who prepares his team well enough that the third string smokes a team 100-0.

What do you think?


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