Profile of a Fool: Coach Runs Up 161-2 Score

We are often asked about the origins of bad ethics and bad sports ethics in particular. Is it a lack of church or synagogue, they ask? Is it bad parenting? Bullying? Growing up with bad influences? A lack of knowing right from wrong? It can be all of the above. It can also mean the influence of a bad coach who lacks understanding, compassion and a sense of good and bad ethics. For a coach needs to be more than a man or woman who teaches skills; a coach also needs to prepare athletes for what happens off the court, as in life.

Bloomington HSAs I write this blog, I will be prepared to welcome almost all comments, but I will not debate the point of “winning at all costs” or “showing no mercy,” especially at this level. A lot of those comments are pure crap, often made by people who have never trained for anything in any sport.

There is a point when even MMA fighters or boxers who are winning with overwhelming power, will look at the ref to stop the fight – and those are professionals or highly skilled amateurs.

From the world of girls’ basketball, we have just read the story of Arroyo Valley. In an article from The Press Enterprise (January 16, 2015) entitled: “GIRLS BASKETBALL: Arroyo Valley suspends coach after 161-2 rout,” we hear the story of Coach Michael Anderson, the man who is the coaching force behind San Bernardino Arroyo Valley girls’ basketball. The school that Arroyo Valley beat, Bloomington High School, was a non-conference opponent. It was a non-opponent and a throw-away game that schools often schedule.

Following the embarrassment, Arroyo Valley suspended the coach for two games. The school was right on the money. I would have gone for 10 games — or the season. According to the article:

“The lopsided score of the Bloomington win sparked controversy over sportsmanship and fairness and Anderson has been under some fire since the game.”

You think?

Nothing was gained

What was gained from this non-conference win? What was the lesson that the Arroyo Valley team came away with after the game?

Again, please do not confuse these two teams with Duke facing North Carolina. While these are both California schools of the same relative size, the program at Arroyo Valley is well developed. The program at Bloomington is still way under development. Girls’ basketball, while certainly not in its infancy, is still being forged and developed at many schools from middle schools to college. The pool of well-trained, well-skilled girls’ players has a long way to go at some schools. It is why I am such an advocate of Title IX issues.

It goes without saying that Bloomington was humiliated. For this blog, I don’t care as much about them as I do about the Arroyo team. What have the Arroyo girls’ team members learned from winning by 159 points? For them, the entire experience might have been a laughable joke; a mockery and a chance to play and laugh around. They are kids. The coach is an adult.

At some point, it was up to the coach to substitute the entire first-string squad, told them to slow down, pass more, or do whatever was needed to be done. He could have said: “As we are much, much better and we are winning by 30 or 50 or 100 points, I want to run passing drills or improve our dribbling or think of this as practice to prepare us for our conference.” He could have played four players (I believe that is within the rules in their league) or had them try to make shots only from the perimeter.

I imagine that Coach Anderson knew beforehand that this was a weak team. He also knew it was a non-conference team. He knew it before they played; he knew it after the first 10 minutes of the game; he clearly knew it after the first half.

This was a teachable moment for the coach. He lost the opportunity to teach all of the life skills and even basketball skills he needed to teach. He failed. He needs to undergo sports ethics training, for his team learned nothing except bad ethics.






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