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Setting records vs. Sportsmanship

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mooninite, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    We have a kid in our area shooting for the state scoring record in boys basketball. He essentially has to hit 40.0 per game the rest of the way to do it. He's averaging 40-plus ppg now.

    In our shop we each write a column once every three weeks on a rotating basis. I was thinking about writing about this kid and how he plays 32-minutes a game even in 50 point blowouts for the sake of the record. Not sure how this would go over as his dad is the coach.

    Any thoughts? Where do the lines cross between setting records and sportsmanship?
  2. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    I think a discussion of that, using the kid as Exhibit A, could make a good column.

    My thoughts -- records should be broken by accident, through the course of play, not by people whose goal it is simply to break the record at any cost. Playing your star in a blowout win just to get him the chance to score more is poor sportsmanship. That's where the lines cross in my book.
  3. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with Rusty. Make the dad look like a tool. He's acting like one.
  4. CollegeJournalist

    CollegeJournalist Active Member

    I agree with both of the above. Records should be broken within the normal contexts of the game, "by accident", as Rusty says. Chasing a record for the sake of having the record cheapens it, IMO, and if he's playing in 50 pt blowouts, it cheapens it even more.
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    And what about the kids who aren't getting the garbage time because he's hogging the ball?

    And it pleases me to say this: they work just as hard as he does.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    And yet, it works... fuck dad
  7. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I would tackle this only if your paper covers more than four high schools. Don't get into a pissing match with Coach Dad over this topic if his school is essential to you or your colleagues.

    That said, if you've got a ton of schools, go for it. And yes, get a quote from Coach Dad.
  8. but you can be
  9. I think buckweaver's point is a good one. There is a pretty easy way you can do this story, or column, without looking as if you are taking a cheap shot at Coach Dad. And that is to dump it in his lap by asking him the questions you more or less already know the answers to. In other words, Coach Dad should be the focus of the column, not the kid -- or you.

    You can ask him stuff like: How much of a topic of conversation is the record among the team? Are you uncomfortable with this because it's your son? How are you dealing with the record as it relates to giving your subs more playing time and/or seasoning for next year? Are you catching flak for this? Have Coach Dad explain himself without appearing to grill him.

    You already know the facts. He can't argue with the numbers: He's trying to get his son the record. What you need to do is have him explain it, rather than you. Then you're giving him the forum. I'd also talk, even if it's off the record, to a few opposing coaches to see what they think. Maybe the player is a good kid, I don't know.
  10. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I'll second the sentiments of others. Quote dad/coach for the story if you can. Don't go overboard and expect the worst kind of reaction from the community and others close to the team, even if all the points you make are correct and compelling.
  11. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    How does this compare to a similar story if there was no record? It seems that the prevailing train of thought in other stories about blowouts v. sportsmanship is that the losing team should get better or deal with it.

    I know when we brought up football, most would agree that the starters need X amount of time to prepare for State playoffs and keep things in tune. Does the same thing apply to basketball? How much of this is the record and how much of this is putting the best team on the court?

    Yes, there have been examples of records getting in the way of proper team management - don't get me wrong, but I'm curious if this coach is driven by the record or by winning and losing.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    To me this is not an issue of sportsmanship.

    This is an issue of is he sacrificing the success of his team to help his son set a record?

    If the kid wasn't his son would he do the same?

    What if his kid is injured, isn't the team going to be in even worse shape because they rely on him so much?

    Aren't kids who normally would be more in the offense taking a back seat while Chip Off the Block fires away? What happens in the playoffs if the kid is shut down? Who would be able to step up?

    What about the kid on the bench who could get more minutes and be better prepared to step in or help next year, etc.
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