Coaches and Sportsmanship
When I heard about the 106-0 victory by the Inglewood High School football team over Morningside, I was appalled. I believe it is a coach’s job to try to win the game, but crushing another team by a huge margin is unacceptable.
There will be games when teams beat opponents handily due to a disparity in talent. But it is a high school coach’s responsibility to help students grow as athletes and human beings, including teaching good sportsmanship.
Photo via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inglewood_High_School_(California)
Inglewood Had The Advantage
The student-athletes on Morningside must have been devastated. The Final score was Inglewood 106, Morningside 0. Players learn from losses, but this was more than a loss. Inglewood unabashedly crushed Morningside. And what about the bench players for Inglewood? Wouldn’t this have been the perfect time to build their confidence and get them game experience?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Inglewood’s quarterback Justyn Martin- who is committed to UCLA- threw thirteen touchdown passes in the game. Inglewood has seven players committed to “major universities”.
And according to the Daily Breeze, Morningside on the other hand, hired their coach, Brian Collins, a week before the season started, didn’t get an offseason program going and were dealing with injuries that included all three of their quarterbacks. Collins, as reported by the LA Times, called the defeat a “classless move”
The California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section reprimanded Inglewood, as did the Inglewood Unified School District, who released a statement.
“We at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the district said in a statement.
“We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”
Inglewood Principal Makes Apologies
The Inglewood High principal Debbie Tate released a written apology on behalf of herself and football coach Mil’Von James in response to criticism of her school and the football program.
“We did not conduct ourselves with sportsmanship and integrity and the final score was unacceptable,” the statement read. “Coach James has also offered his apologies to the Morningside High School football program and the larger school community.”
A Lesson In Sportsmanship
As both a coach and a player, I have been on both ends of the spectrum on an uneven win. And I can tell you that it’s one thing to lose and it’s another to have a team rub a loss in your face. If you are coaching a talented team, look at ways to take control of the final outcome. Give players on both teams the opportunity to grow and leave the court or field with dignity.
Coaching football, make sure all of your players get in the game. Run the ball more. In basketball, use the shot clock during each possession. Work on new plays or defenses. Talk with the opposing coach and referees and implement a running clock. There are always options to be respectful and still play hard.
When you have a talented team, think about all student-athletes on both sides and teach your player how to win with class.