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. When my son was around six, he played on an in-door hockey team. The kids wore socks and the adults didn’t keep score but every single kid KNEW the score. When the game was over, they knew whether they had won or not. Adults are not fooling the kids. Competition is good. It makes you better next time.

  2. Wonder what the parents would say if their little darlings were on the losing side in the Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland game. Score was Georgia Tech 220, Cumberland 0.

  3. Kraaken. Your comment made me think of the flick, Meet the Fockers. When DeNiro first meets Dustin Hoffman and Streisand he’s looking @ some of their son’s awards. DeNiro picks up a ribbon and says sarcastically, “Gee, I didn’t know they gave out ribbons for 13th place.”

  4. The better team won. Get over it.

    P Smith: “If your team is good enough for third stringers to score easily, you call the game off – or at least, that’s what civilized people would do. Most kids’ baseball leagues have a “mercy” rule and so do some football leagues. All leagues should have it to protect the players, especially since they are kids.”

    If you can’t take losing, than don’t play the game, and, no, civilized people wouldn’t call the game off or have ‘mercy rules’. That against the very idea of sport.

    One of the things I hear most often about the dubious value of sports in school is that it teaches ‘team work’ and stresses constant improvement and work toward a goal. Good. In life, there are winners and losers. You don’t get a trophy simply for existing. Same way in sports. There are winners, and there are losers, and to teach kids that you get a prize just for trying is not only complete BS, it teaches the wrong moral. Just because you show up doesn’t mean that you deserve a prize. Who knows? Perhaps next year the score will be 50-10. Even high school kids need to learn that you get rewarded for effort and that some teams are just better than others.

  5. This is another case of flip-flopped treatment or crimes and scandals.

    I first began seeing this in large scale during the Clinton administration, where crimes like the violation of the consitutional seperation of powers (Kosovo) was treated as a scandal by the press, but his behavior with women (Paula Jones) was treated as a crime.

    We must remember that private power is almost the equal of public — taboo and shame versus fines and detention. Abuse of public power is tyrany, abuse of private power is bullying.

  6. Boss, “Raises are on the way for whomever can complete this task fastest.”

    Tom, “Oh sorry boss, I can’t make Bob look like he does not have the skills needed to get ahead, so I’ll slow play and give him a chance.”

    Bob to himself, “Sucker!”

  7. Yes, they started the running clock, Aledo put in their third string, tried players out in unfamiliar positions, and started calling fair catch on each punt. They ran 32 snaps and scored 91 points.

    I think the parent who complained would have also been mad if Aledo players started taking a knee on every play. They probably would have complained that we were making them look bad by not even trying, and who do we think we are, etc.

  8. apieceofbluesky, You have the empathy that too many folks do not. As a parent and coach, I’ve been on both ends of these type games, although never quite this bad. I’ve had irate parents from our team when we got slaughtered and irate parents from other teams when they got slaughtered. However, I remember the knowledgeable parents who would also come up to me and say they knew I stopped our team from stealing bases and they appreciated it. Being a positive person, I remember those folks best. The great John Wooden said “The ideal coaching job would be @ an orphanage.” The Wizard of Westwood, indeed.

  9. In most Illinois High School sports, there is a slaughter rule. I believe that there is a running clock rule in football that speeds up the game so the score can’t get to such a lopsided result. I am surprised that Texas does not have a similar rule. There is no gain for any team to lose by that large of a score and yes it is a bad example of sportsmanship to continue to allow your team to run up the score.

  10. Thanks, Nick Spinelli. I think the Western Hills parent who filed the complaint was probably just very frustrated. Western Hills hasn’t won a game all year, and then to have play us… In addition to the score of 91-0 they’ve also lost 61-7, 62-10, and 63-10.

    My 11yo son doesn’t play football, but plays little league baseball. His team keeps getting trounced and skunked, and I’ll admit that with huge loss after huge loss, we are all very frustrated. I think the Western hills parent had a weak moment and did something dumb instead of letting the moment pass.

  11. apieceofbluesky, Thank you very much, particularly for your extra effort. WordPress does eat comments on an all too frequent basis. In your case it was doubly horrible because you provide real perspective. I, and others, surmised this was the case. But to see the actual rankings, #4 vs. #949, gives us a numerical understanding of what a mismatch this was. It would be like the Cardinals or Red Sox, set to start the WS tonight playing, lets say…THE CUBS!!

  12. It would seem that leagues might want to address the issue of lop-sided games or running up the score.

    But the question is whether winning a sports contest by a wide margin falls within the concept of bulling. I don’t think so.

    I would be interested to hear arguments that fairly played sports can some how constitute bullying. But I just do not see it.

  13. If you are on the third string and finally got into a game are you supposed to not score because you’re team is way ahead?

  14. Jude, Understood. Not stealing doesn’t always help in baseball either. But, it’s a dignified and face saving way to honor your opponents plight.

  15. I posted a long comment but perhaps it is too long, because it hasn’t shown up. I live in Aledo and was present at the game. Coach Bucanan put in this second, third and fourth string teams after the first quarter, when the score reached 27-0. Aledo also stopped passing. Buchanan talked with the Western Hills coach during the game and the coach acknowledged that Buchanan was doing what he could to keep the score down, other than telling the players to lie down.

    Aledo is ranked #4 in the state; Western Hills is ranked #949. Aledo has won three state championships in the last five years. The UIL put us in the same district with Western Hills. I don’t know why. I do know that the Aledo coach and team would rather be playing teams that would give them a more competitive game.

    Aledo High School is well known for its football program, and numerous parents move here when their boys are small just so they’ll be able to play football on this team. This makes our talent pool very large.

  16. Why don’t they just stop tallying the score on the scoreboard when the spread reaches a certain point?

    One of my grandkids was instrumental in starting a girl’s soccer program at her high school. For the first 2 years everybody in their school’s league beat them by huge margins, so much so that all the Athletic Directors got together in the middle of their first season and decided to stop recording the goals on the scoreboard after a certain point spread was reached. They were all concerned that the girls would give up and the fledgling program would fail.

    In the middle of their second season they scored their first goal and when the game was over the opposing team threw an impromptu party for them on the field.

    My grandchild is now 3 years past college and that high school program is well established with no more need for scoreboard fixing.

  17. Throughout the history of football, the coaches of many teams, when significantly ahead, do various things, like putting in second and third team players, so that they can get some playing time and not humiliate the other team. In little league baseball, when a team gets to far out ahead, the rules allow for the game to be ended a couple of inning early. This coach shouldn’t be fired, but I would surely like to grill him on a couple of questions relating to decency, sportsmanship and humility. It’s just a game and I was told as a kid participating in team sports that these are the principles that we are supposed to be teaching our kids and to have fun. I think these coaches are just trying to gain notoriety so that can move up the coaching ranks. I wonder if it will work. It reminds me of some of the games prosecutors play for the same purpose.

  18. Excerpted from:

    Undefeated Aledo, No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll (the second-highest classification in the state), is racking up ridiculous yardage and crushing opponents this season. They are averaging just shy of 70 points per game, making some of those games essentially over before halftime.

    Where is the competitive aspect of the game?

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