In the wake of a series of highs school football blowouts, The New York Times asked its younger readers if dramatically lopsided scores should be allowed. They responded with a resounding “yes.”
Here is a sampling of what teenagers from around the country said about blowouts:
- To not allow blowouts in a sport is to promote mediocrity and minimal effort. The only thing it teaches is that all people are meant to be equally successful regardless of the efforts they have made for their success. Competition exists in any sports game and in every scenario of life.
- An analogy I have, to describe policies preventing wildly lopsided games, is if a student is doing much better on tests than others, should they get lower scores so other students don’t feel like they aren’t doing well compared to the student who has high test scores?
- I have been on the losing end of a blowout before. At a swim meet, we were beaten by four hundred points, which in swimming, is a landslide. On the losing end, I went home with my head hung in shame, but that loss did something to me. The next morning at practice, I pushed myself further, and so did my teammates … Although my teammates and I said that the win was not fair, we knew that the other team had been training for hours. We knew that they deserved what they had gotten. While sports blowouts may feel awful for the losing team, they push teams harder, and they give teams who have worked hard what they deserve.
Adults don’t see things quite the same way — at least not in Nassau County, N.Y.
Rob Shaver, head football coach at Plainedge (N.Y.) High School was banned for one game after his team beat previously unbeaten South Shore (N.Y.) High School in late October, 61-13. As USA Today reported, “thescore was in violation of a ‘lopsided scores policy’ for schools in Nassau County, which includes Plainedge, per Newsday.”
“I had no issue with how the game went,” South Side coach Phil Onesto told Newsday. “I had spoken to [C]oach Shaver, I told him I had no issues.”
“The spirit of the rule is to prevent better teams from running up on lesser programs and sportsmanship and dignity and all that stuff,” Shaver told Newsday. “I get it. That didn’t happen.
When undefeated T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre (S.D.) beat winless Spearfish High School. 103-0, in the first round of the state’s Class 11AA football playoffs on Halloween night, T.F. Riggs head coach Steve Steele took matters into his own hands and told his players to stay off social media to avoid negative backlash. He also told local media outlets the win was tough to digest.
“It was one of the most polarizing mixture[s] of emotions we’ve ever had at the conclusion of any game,” he said. “Being so proud of every kid that stepped onto the field for us for giving every play their very best and earning the success that they experienced throughout the game, while also feeling sick for how the other sideline had to be feeling. Knowing what it feels like to be on that sideline really makes your heart hurt for their players, coaches and community.”
Blowouts will always be a part of sports, and these recent examples demonstrate how various communities handle them. There may be no right or wrong answer, but emotions can sometimes overtake logic.