Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who's Got Nothing?

Last week the girl's basketball team of a private high school in Dallas, Texas defeated another private academy by a score of 100-0. Officials of The Covenant School apologized after they defeated The Dallas Academy on January 13th.

The score was 59-0 at halftime.

Players from Covenant were still pressing on defense in the 4th quarter, and the team -despite its overwhelming lead- was still putting up 3-point shots. The players on the Covenant bench, and some of the parents, were cheering wildly as their team approached the 100-point mark.

The head of the winning school later apologized for the 100-0 score. He said what happened was shameful. The winning coach disagreed with the head of the school, though, and said he thought what happened was just fine. His girls played hard and clean basketball.

Dallas Academy, the losing school, only has eight girls on their varsity. There are only 20 girls in the school. The basketball team hasn't won a game in four seasons. The school specializes in working with students who have "learning differences" like dyslexia and short attention spans.

Those who know me understand what a sports' fan I am. When news of this game was reported in the press, though, I stopped. My stomach sank. I wondered what has happened to us. I wondered what has happened to sportsmanship. Too often the game isn't the thing, anymore. Too often the life lessons we learn as a part of a competitive team isn't the thing, anymore. Now it is all about winning...crushing the person on the other side...embarrassing the receiver who we beat on a pass play in football... getting in the face of the player from whom we steal the ball on the basketball court.

Where is this headed? Where will it end? And when will people like you and me finally say, "Enough?"

I have a hunch. I hunch that the winning coach is going to regret what happened during that game. I hunch that score is going to haunt him. I hunch he is going to wish he had that day in his life to do over. Because it is a shamefull and mean thing that happened on that day.

God is cool, though. I wouldn't be surprised if God was -even now- beginning to work in that coach's heart. Showing him what compassion looks like...laying out some lessons about the beauty of mercy. I suspect God could be teaching him how to handle moments like this, in the future, much differently. I hope.

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