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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Winning by 105 not very sporting

By Jane McManus

If the stakes were Olympic gold or a WNBA championship, by all means, score as many baskets as you can. No one will fault you for a single pick-and-roll.

But beating an inferior opponent 107-2, as the Bloomington (Ind.) South High School girls' basketball team did to Arlington High School on Tuesday night, doesn't seem very sporting.

High school sports are different, and for good reason. For the vast majority of kids who play, it is as far as their athletic career will ever go, so it's less about wins and losses and more about learning sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork.

The lopsided score of this high school game isn't offensive because they are girls. The winning-is-everything mentality is just as unnecessary in a boys' game under similar circumstances.

And in many cases it isn't about the players, it's about the coaches. Apparently Bloomington coach Larry Winters mistook this prep game for the Battle of Bunker Hill. He decided to go full-throttle on a team that hasn't won in 23 games. Maybe he thought a big win would mean a lucrative shot at coaching the Lakers if this whole Mike D'Antoni thing doesn't work out.

Perhaps Winters thought margin of victory counted in division standings, or maybe he was just trying to make his players' parents proud. At any rate, a girls' basketball game is not the place to make your stand.

A high school game isn't about the coaches and their misplaced egos. It is about the girls and boys and what they take away from the experience to build on later in their lives.

Ultimately, we hope the reaction to Winters' hyper-competitiveness will be more of a lesson than his directive to his players to keep shooting. Maybe his players learned that while winning is fine, embarrassing an opponent in the process is not.

And, hopefully, that lesson will take some of the bitter taste out of the loss for Arlington.