Does winning too big beget bullying?

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Mandy Roczniak – Inner Winning Coaching – November 1, 2013

Does a Lopsided Loss Constitute Bullying?

There was a recent youth sports story from Parker County in Texas that hit the news.  The story was about the mother of a high school football player who filed bullying charges against the coaching staff of the opposing team.  The mom made this claim because her son’s team lost 91-0.    The complaint suggests the coaches should have told the players to take it easy on the competition.  The irony to the complaint is she goes on to say the players from (Aledo High School) showed respect to her son and thanked them for the good sportsmanship.  So why even file the complaint in the first place?  She states she didn’t know what to say to my son on the ride home.  The issue with the filing of this complaint is that bullying is a problem in our school systems right now; it is a real epidemic with how freely kids can be targeted through social media and taunting at school.  Lives are being lost due to bullying and this complaint minimizes the legitimacy and severity of bullying.

It’s the reality of sports that one team wins and one team losses.  It is certainly more difficult to be on the losing team, especially if it’s as lopsided as 91-0, but does this constitute bullying?  If the players played their best, displayed good sportsmanship, didn’t intentionally run up the score, how is this bullying?

This game can be used to teach some life lessons, for both teams.  The winning team can foster discussions around; how do you continue to show respect for an opponent when it’s clear they are over-matched?  Is stopping at the goal line instead of scoring respectful or not?  What would they want the other team to do if they were on the other side?  If they were in another game like this, what would they do differently and still be respectful of the other team?  What did you learn from this experience and how can you use this lesson later on in life?

The discussions that can be had with the losing team could be; what did you learn about yourself by continuing to play hard even though you weren’t going to win?  What would you have wanted the other team do differently?  What would you have done if you had been the other team? How will being in a game like this help you later on in life?

When you play sports, the basic concept is one team wins and one team loses.  It is very unfortunate the Fort Worth’s Western Hills football team lost 91-0.  It is certainly not the way anyone ever wants a game to go, but it does happen and it appears the Aledo players did their best to limit the damage.   But I think it can be agreed that a lopsided score does not qualify as bullying.  Everyday we’re faced with obstacles, how we take on these challenges is what shapes who we are.  What we learn from these experiences helps us in how we will show up the next an issue arises.  Ultimately, it leads us to form what actions we will take.  There are opportunities in everything that happens to us, we just need to be able to have an open mind to take these win – loss experiences and shift them into a win-win.

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