Life Won’t Let Off the Gas on Your Kids, and Neither Should You

by Matt Jackson

Last month, in the LHSAA high school girls basketball playoffs, a barn-burner of a game unfolded. The legendary General Trass Panthers took on the Red River High Bulldogs.

The interesting part of this game was that Red River was a No. 5 seed in the Class 2A bracket, while General Trass was a No. 28 seed that had gone 0-16 in the regular season.

For another discussion, I was wondering how it made the teams seeded 29th to 32nd feel knowing that a winless team was in front of them?

But anyway, back to the game at hand.

General Trass had some monster games this year, losing some 68-6, 69-3, 63-4, and 57-8. So could this major underdog pull off an epic upset?

No, not even close. Red River won 100-5.

This has sparked some controversy. Lots of people are upset the score was that high. Some folks are even calling it a case of poor sportsmanship.

You think the Atlanta Falcons wanted to stop scoring points in Super Bowl LI to let the Patriots come from behind like that?

That’s such an embarrassingly weak way to look at it. How have parents gotten so soft that they don’t want kids to score points anymore just because the other team isn’t that good?

Sportsmanship in basketball is not going low on someone’s layup to sweep their feet and make them land on their shoulders, or not throwing an elbow into someone’s face on a rebound.

The game is competitive, and the point of it is to score as many points as physically possible. I, for one, would have loved for one of the Red River girls to go Steph Curry-style lights-out and set the national record for single-game scoring. If there was a game to do it, that was the game.

The truth is, you don’t let off the gas or call off the dogs just because you are winning, nor do you try to stop scoring points because the other team is pathetic. You think the Atlanta Falcons wanted to stop scoring points in Super Bowl LI to let the Patriots come from behind like that?

No. No, they didn’t.

Let’s not forget Super Bowl XXVII, when Dallas Cowboy Leon Lett slowed down on the fumble recovery right before the goal line and Don Beebe, of the Buffalo Bills, caught him and knocked the ball out of his hand at the 1-yard line. Lett would have gotten a Super Bowl defensive touchdown, but instead, he eased up.

And even as far as parents go, when you play your son in basketball when he is a kid, there are no easy wins. You make that little bastard earn it. When Junior goes up for some weak-ass layup or tries to make it rain in your face, you swat that crap down and stand over him, letting Junior know who the alpha male is around here. Life won’t take it easy on him, and neither should you.

Then, one day down the road, when your son goes up for that ESPN highlight-quality dunk on you, and it knocks you down and you slide across the concrete, in your pain from road rash and a possibly dislocated shoulder in your old age, you will smile and be proud because you know your son finally earned it. You taught him well, and now he is a winner.

Like Ricky Bobby said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”


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