After a, to put it very lightly, decisive win, Texas' Aledo High now faces charges of "bullying" after defeating Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0 last Friday night. High powered Aledo High is the top team in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll. Meanwhile, a struggling Western Hills fell to 0-7. The report, pulled from the district’s website, was filled out by a Western Hills dad who accused the coaching staff of bullying thanks to the lopsided score.
The report specified it was not against the players, who were actually complimented for good sportsmanship, but against the coaches for not “instructing [the] players to ease up and quit playing hard once the game was in hand.” The complaint read, “We all witnessed bullying first hand, it is not a pretty sight.”
Aledo High football coach, Tim Buchanan, was summoned to the superintendent’s office after the report was filed. He was forced to spend an hour with the administration to begin investigation, as mandated by the state. A written report is expected in the next day or so.
I didn’t even know that Texas knew what bullying was. The cowboys, oil tycoons and various rough and toughs from the Longhorn State probably thought bullying involved an actual living bull. In high school Texas football, there are no orange wedges and Capri Sun.
But instead of living up to the gritty reputation of the region, a parent thought the best way to fight back was by clicking some buttons on their computer and filing papers against the opposing coach. I’m sure their kid is beaming with pride right now. Since he clearly can’t fight his own battles, getting crushed 91-0, mommy and daddy had to call a lawyer and file papers against the winners. That’ll teach him how to fend for himself in adulthood.
Poor coach Buchanan tried his hardest to stall the scoreboard from putting up numbers like a pinball machine. His team averages just about 70 points per game, including two wins 84-7. He pulled starters beginning in the 2nd quarter, and had all third or fourth stringers playing by the 4th. He told his punt returner to fair-catch the ball every time. A running clock was implemented in the 3rd quarter. All game, his offense only had 32 snaps, but those snaps were good enough to rush for 391 yards with eight touchdowns. The starting running back only touched the ball six times, but scored four touchdowns. If he found the hole, what did the dad expect him to do, lay down in it?
Also, as every coach I ever had told me, “If you go half speed, that’s when you get hurt.” If you are standing around, you suddenly can have bodies roll over your leg or hit your blind side.
Try telling the backups on Aledo to not try. After spending an entire summer in the weight room and after enduring grueling practices every week, try telling the player that may not ever score another touchdown in his life to just take a knee when he gets the chance. Imagine if at the end of Rudy, instead of sacking the QB, his teammates forced Rudy to stand still.
I had a lot of accomplishments during my college career at Wake Forest. We won the most games over four years of any senior class. We won two bowl games. We won the ACC Championship. But one game is always going to stick out as one of my favorite memories, a 44-10 loss at Clemson. After a returned kick for a touchdown, it was announced that with his third touchdown of the day, C.J. Spiller just earned every fan a “FREEEEEEE TACCOOOOOOSSS!!!!” With all of us sitting with disappointed heads down, drunk fans in the front row screaming “Thanks!” for the tacos finally forced us to laugh. I enjoy telling the story of the Clemson smackdown more than others. It’s more memorable, it’s funnier, and despite what wussified-parents think, we all turned out fine. We won our next three games, including the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
This dad should be embarrassed. As a matter of fact, I’m sure he is embarrassed because his name is kept private from all public reports. A simple rule of thumb for life… if you can’t put your name to it, don’t do it.
What do you think would be more embarrassing? Losing 91-0, or losing 56-0 (halftime score) and watching the other team take a knee on every play because they clearly think you’re that pathetic. Fighting hard for yardage to win occasional individual battles, or seeing the defense part the field so you can walk to an undeserved touchdown. Parents need to stop kidding themselves; children look at participation trophies with disdain.
We all are haunted by self-awareness. No matter how many people shower one with compliments, quiet moments force one to take inventory of real accomplishments. The more praise given to those who haven’t earned it, the less inner peace those people have. But it’s cool, we can prescribe drugs for that.
Can we please stop veering off our societal path? I grew up with the mantra of “sticks and stones” and kids today grow up in a protective bubble. The fact that the state mandates this one terrible father’s complaint requires a full investigation and written report is a joke. His voice should be hushed and ridiculed. I’d prefer he be laughed at than his poor kid, who now is certainly dealing with plenty of teasing about his overprotective daddy.
The role of a parent is not to coddle, it’s to raise your kids to be adults. So what lesson does this teach them? It doesn’t teach toughness, perseverance or how to succeed in the world. It teaches that if life gets tough, go find somebody to complain to. The system is there to save you because you never have a chance of saving yourself. Don’t try to get better yourself, because it’s everybody else’s fault for trying too hard.
Western Hills Coach John Naylor responded, “I think the game was handled fine. They’re number 1 for a reason, and I know Coach Buchanan. We’re fighting a real uphill battle right now.” Coach Naylor may not be having success coaching football, but, in the absence of responsible parenting, at least he’s trying to coach his kids in life.