Varsity coach Micah Grimes first made national headlines when his Covenant School girls’ basketball team beat another Dallas-area private school 100-0 on Jan. 13. On Sunday, he was again in the news after being fired after disagreeing with an apology issued by Covenant School Headmaster Kyle Queal to Dallas Academy for the blowout victory.
“The Covenant School, its board of administrators, regrets the incident of Jan. 13 and the outcome of the game with Dallas Academy varsity girls’ basketball team,” Queal stated in the apology, according to the Dallas Morning News. “It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach to competition.”
Grimes did what I believe good coaches do and came to the defense of his players, issuing a statement of his own.
“I respectfully disagree with the apology, especially the notion that the Covenant School girls’ basketball team should feel ‘embarrassed’ or ‘ashamed,’” Grimes stated in an email published by the News. “We played the game as it was meant to be played and would not intentionally run up the score on any opponent. Although a wide-margin victory is never evidence of compassion, my girls played with honor and integrity and showed respect to Dallas Academy.”
As you may expect, this whole incident has divided the parental world of Texas high school athletics. Opinion on the blowout and firing has spread like wildfire across the state and even the U.S. for that matter. (Believe it or not, Fox News jumped all over this one.) When dealing with high school athletics, parents, school administration, and the feelings of student athletes, things can get very messy very fast.
Everybody seems to have an opinion (and you know what they say about opinions…) about this blowout game. Who is at fault here? Coach Grimes? The players? The state board of high school athletics for putting these two unmatched teams on the same court together? Really, though, is there anyone to blame?
When I first heard this story, I immediately took the side of the coach. Without knowing the circumstances, I felt his firing was unjustified, especially when the people who hired him hung him out to dry with that apology statement. Most athletes at some point in their playing career find themselves on both sides of a blowout. When a matchup between two squads is so lopsided, only a very skilled coach can pull his team back to keep from embarrassing the opponent.
So then I had to wonder, “Did Grimes put in the second- and third-stringers when the blowout win was in the bag?” Dallas Academy Athletic Director Jeremy Civello said he believed Grimes didn’t put the brakes on his team at all.
“This is what it came down to in the second half: steal at half court and layup,” he said. “Steal and layup. Steal and layup. It was a layup drill. They finally eased up when they got to 100 with about four minutes left.”
Hmmm, I thought. That doesn’t sound like a team who has been told to lighten up a bit. Maybe I should move my opinion to the anti-Grimes camp. I mean, the score was 100-0 for God’s sake.
Maybe the solution would be to impose a version of the 10-run rule in high school sports. For example, the game is automatically ended if a team gains a lead of 50 points.
But should the better team be hindered to placate the feelings of another team’s very poor play? I am often more offended when a better team plays down to another team’s level just to make things more even. That’s insulting. I would rather be beaten 100-0.
Or would I? What is the answer here? We must have solutions to make sure this never happens again!
To regulate or not to regulate. That is the big question these days, isn’t it? Be it high school sports or economic crises. When the winners win, they win big. And the losers, well when they lose, they lose big – but hey, at least they had the chance to play in the big game.
Am I getting off track?
Both schools and their administrators should have simply moved on. No firings. No stupid apology statements blaming the players, or anyone else. No bailouts. Just go back and prepare for the next game.