Parents Charge Texas High School Football Coach With Bullying After His Team Beat Rival By 91-0

23751250_BG1Since we have been discussing the Jets-Patriots brawl, we might as well add a story out of Texas where a coach is facing a charge of “bullying” because his team, Aledo High School, beat Western Hills High School by 91-0. Tim Buchanan will now have to answer for his actions after various parents filed complaints that he allowed his team to do so well. I find this type of objection to be mystifying. I have four kids in sports. I feel bad when they lose but I tell them that you do your best and try harder next time. Moreover, I am not sure what this coach is supposed to do. He has a really good team. Are they supposed to intentionally ground the ball? I think the demeaning thing is not losing to a better team but having your parents demand that they let you score.

Buchanan said that he took out his first string players in the first quarter and went to the second string and then went to his third string. They kept scoring. It was no surprise. His team is 7-0. and has scored 77 points or more in their last four games. They are really good, alright? I agree with Buchanan when he insists “I’m not gonna tell a kid that comes out here and practices six to seven hours a week trying to get ready for football games.’Hey, you can’t score a touchdown if you get in, you’re gonna have to take a knee,’ cause that may be the only touchdown that kid gets to score in his high school career.”

Yet, parents believe that he is unsportsmanlike in not somehow stopping his kids from scoring. It is the type of attitude that I find so bizarre among parents today. We have previously discussed how new guidelines demand that all kids get awards at award ceremonies. I have sat through such events where dozens of kids get the “best for trying award” or the equivalent to avoid any one kid or group of kids from being singled out. I am not sure how that prepares them for life. There are going to be people who are better at things than they are. Better athletes, better students, better artists. They need to learn to accept defeat as well as victory.

The kids at Western Hills were against a better team. Aledo is the top ranked team in the state for its division. I am sure they knew that. I am also sure that they could handle the defeat. It was the parents who seem incapable to maintaining perspective and want to manipulate games artificially to achieve “better results.”

I do believe that coaches should pull their top players in lopsided games and Buchanan says that is precisely what he did. However, it is not unsportsmanlike or bullying to play a game to a lopsided conclusion. It is called life. This is just one of its lessons.

58 thoughts on “Parents Charge Texas High School Football Coach With Bullying After His Team Beat Rival By 91-0

  1. nick has the right idea with the mercy rule, but as long as the score is below 100, then it’s not really running up the score The kids won’t suffer long term consequences for losing big. If anyone is to be blamed, the league officials should be fined or reprimanded for scheduling such a game of mismatched teams and not having a mercy rule. The winning kids can’t take a knee on every play which would be even more embarrassing for the losing team. I feel bad for the losing team, but they will all recover.

  2. When I played high school football (50 years ago), we once had a game with a team from the little town of Reserve, New Mexico. It had been scheduled to fill a gap and with little apparent thought given to relative team strength. The result was an 82-0 score. Those of us who were starters did not play after the first quarter. By the time the second half started, our coach was playing our third string center at quarterback. It was frankly embarrassing to watch and no one felt any pride in the victory. Our coach apologized to the opposing coach after the game, but both of them understood that there had been no attempt to run up the score. Before the final buzzer sounded, we were instructed to show respect to the other players and to refrain from any celebratory demonstrations. The long bus ride back to El Paso was largely silent.

    Although schools are divided into districts determined by school size, it is inevitable that a blowout will occasionally happen. The only lessons to be learned from that type of game by either team are humility and graciousness. It is usually obvious whether a coach is attempting to run up a score, and if that is the case, criticism is justified. It is not, however, when a team has done everything possible to avoid humiliating an opponent. Should there be a mercy rule in football? Probably, because of the enhanced risk of injury when players are physically overmatched. But to suggest that a winning team refrain from playing hard, or deliberately make mistakes, disserves both teams.

  3. Particularly in football, the coach can’t tell the kids not to try hard. They will get hurt. Besides pulling the starters, removing some plays from the playbook (trick plays, long passes,etc.), and eating the clock, there is not much the coach can do when his team overpowers its opponent.

  4. Those parents are not doing their kids any favors. They’re creating what college admissions personnel today are calling “tea cups.” (google it)

    I remember this situation happening a handful of times when I was in high school. One time it was so bad that the coach called the JV team out of the bleachers at half-time and put them in. We still won. I don’t see what else this coach could have done.

  5. The El Paso Triple A franchise[Padres] just had a vote to change the name from Padres. There were several choices. The fans voted for the Chihuahua. Some Mexicans in the area think it’s insensitive. I looked @ the logo. It’s a Chihuahua w/ a mean face and pit bull collar. I don’t see it. Are we becoming a nation of PC dogma?

  6. My daughter has a Chihuahua and she’s dressing Minnie as Minnie Mouse for Halloween. She lives in the Twin Cities, so I sure hope it doesn’t offend anyone!

  7. These two teams shouldn’t be playing each other. It’s not good for either one to be playing the other.

    Too bad they can’t solve the imbalance like we used to do with our neighborhood baseball games. All kid comers could play (6-18 but birth certificates not required). Great effort was taken to make sure the teams were evenly matched. If one team was outperforming the other by a lot, there was a redistribution of talent. It was amazing how slow and clumsy the older kids were when one of the younger kids got a hit. And how slow they were running the bases when it was the younger kids chasing down their hit. Of course they got their speed and agility back when it was someone their own age or older on the other end of things. Amazing sense of fairness in the teenage boys who kept the game so organized.

  8. JT: “. . . you do your best and try harder next team.”

    True American esprit de corps — dump your loser teammates and find a select team.

  9. I see the comments since my first are rife with anti-social and sociopathic types, those who “think” it’s fun to beat up on people who can’t put up a fair fight. They sound like pro-war chickenhawks. Is your life so empty that you must live vicariously through mismatches like that in the story? You’re probably the type who said the A-11 football offense was “unfair” and should be banned because small teams were beating juggernauts.

    Team with players aspirating to play college football should play each other and face competition that will prepare them for college ball. Teams with players that will never get past high school should play each other and have fun. Where’s the problem with that? It’s only a problem if you’re the sort who likes to see humiliation and abuse (e.g. you also like domestic violence and rape).

    • P Smith wrote: “I see the comments since my first are rife with anti-social and sociopathic types, those who “think” it’s fun to beat up on people who can’t put up a fair fight.

      I don’t think that is a fair characterization. We don’t like to see success punished. In this case, it sounds like a scheduling problem. These two teams never should have played against each other.

      • @davidm2575 “These two teams never should have played against each other.”

        Some school systems set up leagues with divisions. The divisions group schools loosely according to the size of the student body. The idea is that schools with similar number of students are likely to have similar numbers of good and average players.

        Coaches from smaller schools can and do schedule games with larger schools. But most games during the season are played in the division against opponents with teams of roughly similar ability.

        The system usually works reasonably well giving everyone the chance to compete and offering the opportunity to schedule a real challenge once or twice a season.

        BTW, I really think the A11 formation is a different issue. I played decades ago. I am confident that few if any thought a particular formation or play made much difference. Over the length of a game it always comes down to the skill, determination, execution and – yes – luck of the players.

        And finally, I believe we are in the last few years, or perhaps the last decades of football as it is played today. Concerns regarding concussions are justified, and I think there are limits to what any helmet or protective gear can accomplish.

        In a sense that is too bad. Football is one of the few sports in which a player with average or little athletic ability can make a contribution on determination and perseverance alone. At any level, isn’t that what it is about?

  10. Follow-up: The Aledo coach was cleared of any wrongdoing and was praised by the losing coach who acknowledged both the Aledo players and coach did nothing wrong. In the bullying complaint the unidentified parent who made the complaint was upset because her son was crying after the game. God save us all!

  11. I think they should have given the other team half of the points Aledo scored.

    I think it selfish for this Aledo team to have scored all of those points and not been willing to give some away. What are we teaching children in this country?

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  13. Just a quick update — Aledo won the Texas 4A Division II state championship yesterday with a final score of 38-10. During that game the team became the first ever in high school football history to score 1000 points in a single season. It is kind of a cool record to have in the books, but at the same time is also a little embarrassing. The 91-0 score was definitely the worst, but the district we were placed in really isn’t the right one for this team. It wasn’t difficult at all for Aledo to rack up 1000 points this season, and they could have racked up many more had Coach Buchanan allowed it.

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