There are sports...and there is sportsmanship.
Sometimes, those two things can be in conflict. And it was on display at an Indiana girls high school basketball game this past Tuesday night.
That's when Bloomington South High School demolished Arlington High School 107-2.
The Indianapolis Star reports reports that Arlington made two single free throws in the second and third period ?? that was the extent of the school??s scoring. The rest of the night??s points went to Bloomington South as the team continued to rack up the points, even after they had the game well in hand.
The score of the game, and Bloomington's inability to stop piling up the points, has generated comment from writers across Indiana...and the rest of the country.
Ben Smith of the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette writes, "What's ridiculous is that Bloomington South and Arlington would schedule each other to begin with. Once that happened, 107-2 or something like it was probably inevitable. You can't tell your subs to go in there and not try to score, defend, etc. So you're pretty much in an impossible situation."
WRTV posted on their page "The IHSAA's sportsmanship rules are non-specific about blowouts, calling for coaches to 'always set a good example for members of the team and fans to follow,' to 'instruct members of the team in regard to proper sportsmanship' and to 'treat opposing coaches, participants and fans with respect."
Christina Hughes Babb of the Lake Highlands Advocate in Texas writes, "As much as I dislike bullying, especially in the form of a coach and parents urging players to humiliate a weaker team, I??m not sure that rules are the answer in cases like this. If someone is employed as a football or basketball coach, especially at a pricey private school, shouldn??t part of the job requirement be good judgment, good leadership skills and sportsmanship? Sure, not all of them will demonstrate these things at all times, but when they don??t, they can be reprimanded as anyone else who fails at a job. Is putting mercy rules in place tampering with the integrity of the game? Might it backfire and embarrass the losing team more than a blowout?"
Should all high school sports have "mercy rules"? Or should high school athletes simply "take their medicine" when they play a superior team?