“You play to win…”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 9, 2015 #531 Up next…”You play to win…”

After further review… During a recent high school girls’ basketball game, both coaches told their players to “play to lose”! C’mon man! The players were ordered to lose in order not to face a stronger opponent in the upcoming playoffs. The names of these two coaches and their schools are not mentioned here as their identities are not the point.

Who’s to blame for this ethical failure? The two coaches, for starters. But where were the school administrators? Should players be accountable? (Probably not – their first duty is to obey their coach.) Credit the game officials, who witnessed this flagrant disregard for the integrity of the game and tried to intervene. They then followed-up with a game report to the proper authorities.

Several egregious methods were used to “throw” the game: free throws intentionally missed, players intentionally failing to get the ball into their front court within 10 seconds (the resulting violation causing a turnover), one player attempting to shoot at the opponent’s basket and various other intentional turnovers.

Both coaches have been suspended and will not be permitted to coach during the 2015-16 school year. Both teams have been banned for the remainder of the season, and disqualified for possible postseason games. Both schools were fined.

“You play to win the game! Hello! You play to win the game” said the always passionate former New York Jets Head Coach Herm Edwards midway through the 2002 NFL season, when the Jets were losing. A reporter had mused that the season “may be a lost cause”, Herm continued, “That’s the great thing about sports. You don’t play just to play it! I don’t care if you don’t have any wins; you play to win.” In that 2002 season the Jets finished 9 & 7 and made the playoffs.

Coaches are there to encourage players to always give their best effort. The main ingredient in the word encourage is “courage”. What better place than sports can help a young person muster the strength to “keep on keepin’ on?”

Will you help others who may be facing a difficult situation to find the courage within?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

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