Editorial: Winning football games isn’t bullying

BullyingComic.jpgWhen we go to football games, we root for our team. We cheer to the extent of encouraging our team to “kill” the other, all in good fun of course. Baylor is certainly no stranger to whooping another team by way of points, especially this season. We, however, have never been accused of bullying.

At least, we haven’t been formerly accused of bullying like Aledo football coach Tim Buchanan has.

On Oct. 18, Aledo High School played Western Hills in football. Buchanan is the football coach of a No. 1 ranked team in class A in Texas. Aledo has averaged almost 70 points a game thus far.

This time, however, Aledo racked up 91 points while Western Hills earned none. The next day, Buchanan received an email declaring a “Bullying Report” had been filed against him. The report compliments the Aledo players because, it states, they showed good sportsmanship. A Western Hills parent filled out the online form, which is meant to report actual cases of bullying, and claimed the coach should have told his team to ease up on their opponents when the game was in hand.

“That’s not what you do in athletics,” Buchanan said in an interview with ESPN Headlines.

What the report doesn’t mention is that when Aledo was up 56-0, the Aledo coaching staff was trying to figure out how to slow down their offense. Buchanan did what he could to slow his players down, as he said in the interview.

He subbed out his starting lineup and gave the rest of his team playing time. He told his punt returner to only call for fair catch. He let the clock run. He strategized ways to slow his team down without telling them to stop working hard. His players still made touchdowns and continued racking up points.

Several Western Hill parents said they thought a mercy should have ended the game. Many place the blame on Buchanan for letting this happen.

In his interview, Buchanan said there’s a problem with our society. Instead of the parent going to the Western Hills coach and asking how the team could improve, the parent filed a report against the team that won.

What does it teach the Western Hills kids who see their parents target Aledo?

It teaches them that they did what they could and that’s it. They don’t have to work harder. All they have to do is complain and maybe they’ll get their way next time.

This doesn’t make sense. After hard work practicing, working out and preparing for game time, it wouldn’t have been fair to the Aledo players to tell them to ease up.

He knew it wouldn’t have been fair to his players to have them give up and quit playing hard.

In addition, it isn’t in the nature of football to just not score. In basketball, it’s easy to pass the ball instead of scoring, but in football, when the field is wide open, the player can’t just stand there and wait to be tackled. That would be bad sportsmanship.

Buchanan used this game to give his players more practice time on the field, knowing that they had tough opponents in their future. Western Hills wasn’t one of those tough opponents and that’s something the parents should learn to deal with. Even Western Hills coach John Naylor said he thought the score should’ve been worse.

American gold-medalist Wilma Rudolph once said, “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

Targeting the people who beat you in a game is not a good strategy. The best strategy is to pick yourself up, improve your game and try to win next time.