First things first: I preface this entire article with the reasoning behind why I’m writing such a piece. Earlier today, I received word of a local high school girls soccer team whooping (and I mean–whooping) up on another team by a score of 15-0.
Simply put…The question I pose is this–should high school sports incorporate a mercy rule?
The response I received was fairly straight-forward. It’s hard not to be anymore when you’re only given 143 characters to type. For those who are new to the blog–welcome. So you know, I take some of the best tweets from a question I pose on Twitter…Publish them here, and save my opinion for the very bottom.
Here we go.
@NicoleSween: no way. Respect your opponent by playing them hard 90 minutes.
This is a pretty interesting take, and one I can definitely understand. When I played sports–the last thing I wanted to know was that a team was “taking it easy” on us in order to not run up the score. In this sense–running up a score is showing respect because you’re not taking it easy on a team.
From the perspective of the team that’s being told to “take it easy”–how do you tell a player to purposely strike out? Or to change your game strategy to accommodate to weaker opponents?
And @CharisseMillett added to the debate by saying “NO! The real world is a tough place- play till the end, hold your head up, own it -your in the game- play!”
This take brings high school athletics into a completely different element by connecting high school sports with what reality outside of high school is supposed to be like. This take seems to believe that the players on both teams should give their all 100% of the time and no matter what the outcome–it’s justifiable.
Many coaches and parents will justify the real-life learning lessons that can be taken away from playing sports. This take seems to melt those learning lessons back into the field of play, which will vicariously translate over to the real world. Interesting.
While @JaredOsgood said: “How is having a match cut short because your losing by 10 any less humiliating than being beat 15-0?”
This is one of my favorite takes on the issue. Jared poses the instance of humiliation from a defeat from which you were “run-ruled” or the mercy rule was imposed against you. For instance, if a mercy rule was in place for soccer which stated “if a given team was up by 10 goals at halftime, the game would be called”, and a team actually posted 10 goals by half…The other team would be just as embarrassed as if they actually finished the game and only lost 15-0.
But some leaned heavily in favor of a mercy rule. @stacheflowsnarl said ”there totally should be. There’s a ten run mercy rule in baseball which is way easier to come back from then 10-0 in soccer”
This take correlates a different sport to the mercy rule. Jacob states that in baseball, there’s a 10 run rule–which translates to being “easier to come back from than 10-0″ deficit in soccer. This take really brings to question if a mercy rule should be applicable for each sport, and what boundaries a mercy rule should have.
My take: To understand my take, you have to understand my background with the mercy rule. I played baseball for 14 years of my life. It runs in my blood. My dad played ball for the University of Kentucky. While there was no mercy rule at the collegiate level (nor should there EVER be), there was one at the high school level.
The rule is as follows: The mercy rule is enacted if a team is up by more than 20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or 10 after five/six/seven innings. Remember–high school baseball only plays seven innings.
I firmly believe high school “team” sports should have a mercy rule. For me, the mercy rule isn’t a matter of respect or not. It’s a matter of both teams playing as hard as they can, but understanding that in given times (especially at the high school level) there will be differences in competitive levels. With that being said–certain sports obviously don’t need a mercy rule. Individual sports claim individual winners. There’s no need to cutoff a swimmer in the middle of his heat because he’s not keeping pace.
My high school baseball team was mercy ruled only a handful of times while I played. Was it demoralizing? No. A loss is a loss. What’s demoralizing and degrading is running up the scoreboard to the tune of 20 or 30 to nothing; however, there isn’t nor will there ever be a rule book for this?
I’m suggesting that there is something wrong by intentionally running up the score.
This brings me to my next point: I’ve always grown up with the understanding that certain things in sports are “bush league”. You just don’t do them. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent “running up the score”. In baseball, if a pitcher can’t pitch the ball across the plate, it leads to walks, which leads to runs. There were multiple times I could have grabbed a double, but chose to take a single because my team was already up 15-20 runs.
As for a matter of this being a “life lesson” that they just need to play until the end–I find that to be absolutely intolerable. High school sports aren’t designed to teach kids how tough the “real world” is. They’re meant to foster friendships, promote activity, develop sportsmanship and grasp teamwork. Sports are meant to grow individuals from a young age so they can live a better life, not bring them down in the process. If teaching them how rough the “real world can be”–can the same be said for middle school sports? What about any competition? Can we say the same to elementary school quick recall teams which lose 38-2, 40-0?
I can see how that conversation would go down now:
“Sorry Billy, you’re just less intelligent than those kids over there. But that’s part of life. Way to try hard. You just don’t always get what you want. Get used to it.”
One student from the school that lost 15-0 put it pretty simply, “Brb while I go cry.”
Here’s what I do know–if a team routed my school in baseball by 30 to 40 runs, I could only hope that in every single other sport we trounce them… You couldn’t score enough points in football for me to be happy. Tennis? Why not. Golf? Yell when they’re teeing off.
So let me ask you this–What if?
What if that soccer game had a mercy rule? Would the losing team care? What’s there to lose by adding a mercy rule?
What if they made the mercy rule just an absurd amount? For soccer–what if it was 12 goals by the 12th minute of the 2nd half? Spare the losing team from putting up with more goals scored, and the possibility that one or more of their players could get injured during that time. How about for baseball–20 runs after four, 17 after five, 15 after six?
After all, I’m a firm believer that there’s a way to win with class.
Do you think there’s such a thing as “too much”? Should high school sports enforce a mercy rule? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment below, or tweet at me @RyleJake.
I’ve decided to start a new portion of my blog. I’m giving it the simple title of “26.2″. For the less knowledgeable–26.2 is the number of miles in a marathon race. 26.2 is meant to be a place where you can share your running experiences, and have a running partner to give you a little bit of enthusiasm and encouragement along the way.
Here’s how it works: I’ll post my workouts before I actually go accomplish them. I’ll log my times, and then record them in the first portion of the next workout, and then post the next workout following those results.
Let me first give you a little bit of my running history (cue the time machine): Throughout high school, I spent almost every day running through the halls, or on the track to stay in conditioned shape for baseball and basketball. That training dealt more with running shorter distances in a faster time (i.e. running a lap around the track in 1 min, 4 seconds).
In college–I focused more on running for distance. I ran in several 5k’s before stepping up to a 10k, and then eventually a half-marathon.
Now, my goal is to run a marathon–and I really do believe we can work together to attain this goal. Notice….We. I want you to share this journey with me.
I’ll be following a 29 week training regimen. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday/Sunday we’ll be going for a run. If you aren’t comfortable with the workout–send me an email… firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help personalize a running regimen you’d be able to do no matter your skill level.
Ready to begin?
Day 1: Run 45 minutes.
The pace should be that so you can keep a conversation with a friend without feeling winded. The goal isn’t to rush through and see how many miles you can log, but to just finish.
Before you run, make sure you stretch all of your muscle groups.
After you run, make sure you stretch all of your muscle groups. ((This is the most important…While you’ll probably be sore after your first few days of running, this will help alleviate that soreness))
So get out there, and log your miles. Let me know how you do.
In the upcoming blog, we’ll cover what a “magic mile” is–and how it can impact your run.
First things First: Tiger Woods now lays claim to the #1 spot in the world for golf. A position he held throughout much of the beginnings of his career. After a 2009 sex scandal–the wheels came off; however, Woods limped back to the links and found himself in a position to dominate his sport once again.
Second Helpings: With his recent #1 ranking…Nike, a long time sponsor for Woods, released an ad with a quote from the best golfer in the world:
“Winning Takes Care of Everything.” –Tiger Woods, World #1
Winning takes care of everything? Does it really? I’d love to know who’s idea it was to post this quote in a Nike ad. Was it Tiger’s? The company’s?
No digression needed for something of this size. If winning took care of everything–then why is the player that holds three all-time records in games played, number of at-bats, and number of hits not in the Hall of Fame? Why is he unable to participate in functions his sport delves into?
Pete Rose played the game of baseball with heart. He’s a 17-time All-Star…3-time World Series Champion. Rose pioneered the head-first slide. The MLB slid a lifetime banishment his way.
I’m not about to tell you what Rose did was right–I’m simply looking at the numbers and asking myself… Does winning take care of everything?
Now we’re digging deep.
How about Lance Armstrong? He beat cancer, and then went onto win an insane amount of Tour De France titles, right? LiveStrong? If winning took care of everything–why is he banished from participating in the sport he loves?
Joe Paterno, anyone?
If winning took care of everything–why did Jimmy Valvano retire from the game he loved? The coach went 346-210 in 20 seasons with four different teams. He won a National Championship (N.C. State only has two titles). Yet, he was slapped in the face with a “Lack of Institutional Control” by the NCAA when his players were selling shoes and game tickets to make extra money on the side. Did his wins save him from a forced resignation?
Tiger Woods–winning doesn’t mean everything. Why can’t playing the sport you love, and simply get paid to do it, mean everything?
The advertisement hints at cockiness with a sense of flair. It’s so distasteful and inaccurate, yet people eat it up. Why, as consumers, do you sit there and be spoon-fed this garbage. You’re hungry for more of these clever quips. You want to hear what he’s going to say next. He’s the reason why you watch the Masters every year–and he knows it.
The biggest problem Tiger has isn’t winning…It’s himself.
ESPN’s Rick Reilly maybe says it most eloquently:
“I have one rule on Tiger Woods: Admire the game, not the man. The game is the greatest I’ve ever seen. But the man is rude and vulgar and has a screw-you-I’m-Tiger-Woods policy that’s not the least bit becoming. The arrogance it takes to allow this ad to run is Reason No. 7,393…The problem isn’t “winning takes care of everything.” The problem is that Woods clearly believes it does.”
Maybe golf needs a swagger like what only Tiger can produce. But maybe (and more likely), it just needs a guy people can actually relate to.
Tiger Woods can win all he wants. I’ll stick to Phil
First things first: I’m not about to bash the NCAA, but rather, the system. You see–we’ve bought into the system.
Here we go.
The NCAA is the governing body which houses almost 1,300 universities in the US and Canada. Now that we have that fact out of the way…
In what other industry could you imagine a single business running the show? Granted–the rules put in place by the NCAA have proven themselves to be working, albeit changing over the years. It leaves me begging for one question: In any other industry–competition is expected, and encouraged…Why doesn’t the NCAA have competition?
We’ll let that one simmer on the back-burner for a little while.
I think we’ve all gotten a bit caught up in the BCS bowl berths, and figuring out who goes where…which team deserves to be in this bowl…why this team deserves to be in that bowl. The computer rankings crunch down numbers that are almost impossible for us to even fathom, and then we trust the same machine to calculate who would be the best match-up.
Then we throw this, that and the other at TV screens when “your team” doesn’t get the game you wanted.
Thinking on a more current timeline–what about this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament? The only thing that’s “Maddening” about March is seeing what the tournament selection committee picked for their “fairest bracket”. Any intelligent person would’ve had Gonzaga dropping out at least by the Elite 8 round. In fact–let’s dive into that side of the bracket.
If you’re a #1 seed (the overall #1 seed in the tournament) you tend to be pretty excited, right? Would that excitement be doused when you hear the likes of Duke, Michigan State and St. Louis are in your bracket before you can even play the rest of the tournament field?
Let’s skip over to Gonzaga, shall we? The Zags learned their toughest competitors would be Ohio State, New Mexico and Kansas State. I guess we should throw the Wichita State Shockers in there, too. We all saw that one coming.
My point–television rights in this country are a massive deal. Larger than life, almost. Just think of all the labor disputes and lockouts which have had a direct correlation to athletes seeking a more fair percentage of the TV money coming in. There’s a reason why they call it a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
When most fans watch the tournament they’re looking for two things–good basketball, and upsets. I could undoubtedly say the latter of the two results in more viewership. For the less knowledgable–more viewers equates to a higher viewing audience, which means good ratings. When your ratings are high–station executives can sell advertisements at a higher price due to the larger viewership.
…Are you still with me?
I’m throwing this hypothetical question out–what if the NCAA purposely made the Gonzaga bracket weak, and put some of the stronger teams inside one region strictly for upsets, and good games early? We’ve already seen Kansas vs. UNC, Kansas vs. Michigan, Michigan State vs. Duke, and now we’ll watch Louisville play Duke.. Mind you, all before the Final Four.
To add insult to injury–we watched as Florida Gulf Coast, LaSalle and Wichita State tore through their portion of the bracket…Which ultimately resulted in a #9 seed reigning supreme as a Final Four contender.
While no selection committee, “bracketologist” (whatever that means), or the average Joe could tell you when these upsets are going to happen–I can tell you this…Looking at a region like Gonzaga’s West bracket this year…You knew there would be upsets. And I believe that’s exactly what the NCAA and TV partners wanted.
Yet we subject ourselves to this. We like the madness, but complain about its fairness. There’s no completely subjective way to please every single fan–and I’m not asking for there to be. I’m just wanting to shine a light.
My question to you–is the NCAA really the best organization for collegiate sports? Should (or could) there be an alternative?
First things first: I wanted to take you all on a journey. A lot of you have asked what it is I do in a “typical day” at my job. So without further adieu…
2:05 pm: Arrive to work.
2:15 pm: Sift through hundreds of junk emails and spam on the news email. My goal here is to look for certain headlines that might be of interest during the sports block. I choose to look first through emails because they tend to have more pertinent information that newspapers and other media outlets may not have caught on to first.
2:30-3 pm: Time to make the rundown for the day. On the left is an example of what many journalists know and love (or hate). Here at FOX/ABC, we use ENPS to input our scripts into the system. I’ve seen stations use either ENPS or iNews–both are fairly similar with a few differences here or there.
Let’s do a quick run-through of the rundown…
To the right of CIC Wrestling are two letters: VO, or voice-over. This means I’ll be reading the script while video is being played over what I’m saying. Simple enough, right?
Underneath of VO are the letters SOT, or sound-on-tape. When you see this–think “interview”. We’ll have a quick soundbyte from one or two people. Usually no longer than 20 seconds–we’ll see if that’s the case today.
And from there, you should be able to figure most everything out! Today I’ll be headed out to three hockey matches–East vs. West High, Service High vs. Bartlett High, and the Alaska Aces (ECHL) vs. San Francisco Bulls.
I’m responsible for ensuring that I have a copy of each team’s roster–for play-by-play highlights, and also taking notes during the game (which I do via Twitter).
Typically, I’d tweet out a “Question of the Day” right at 3pm, because most high school students are just now getting out of school, and thus can have their phones out; however, I asked a question of the night last night–”West vs. East (tonight), who do you think will win, and by how much?”
3:30 pm: Arrive back at my desk from Starbucks. Every journalist needs a good kick in the rear-end, even on a Friday. For sports guys–Fridays are rarely ever Fridays. This is my Thursday. Sports happen on the weekends, and thus–I work on Saturday as well.
By now–I’m starting to fill-in a little of the script. Just with stats that I know ahead of time, and story-lines that should play out. A little work now will save me a lot of time, and headaches down the road when it comes to crunch time.
4:20 pm: The South High School varsity boys basketball coach tweeted at me asking for some outtakes of one of his players during an interview. I had a chance to interview Enrique Morgan, the team’s point guard, for his first ever interview. He was nervous to say the least–but that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy what I do. I allow kids the opportunity to experience something they would’ve never tried before.
4:39 pm: Uploaded that video to YouTube. Now it’s time to get things in order for the hockey games tonight. Gotta grab a tripod and camera with an SD card! Here we go…
5:05 pm: Arrive at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena. Service vs. Bartlett hockey game. I tweet out pertinent stats during intermissions.
I try to take at least one picture at every event I attend. This helps viewers, and my followers know where I’m at–so they know what to watch for on the new that night.
Honest opinion–golf may be hard to shoot on a video-camera, but I can promise you that hockey is just as hard. Trying to find that little puck when it bounces off skates, the walls and boards, and is hidden more often than not–it can be tricky.
Another thing to expect…Whenever you shoot a high school hockey game, wear an extra pair of socks. It’s always cold in these buildings.
6:05 pm: Interview with Tyler Miknich. He scored a pretty sweet goal during the game to put Service up 3-0, which is how the game ended. I try to keep the interviews short, sweet and to the point. I always am thinking in 10-15 second clips–nothing more.
6:30 pm: East vs. West hockey: This is where my job gets interesting. When there’s only two people in the sports department at my station, I have to constantly think–what do I need. No more, no less. I know when I’m shooting for a hockey highlight, I typically need 3 highlights (either goals, saves, or nice hits), plus some padding at the end of the video, but I’ll spare you the details.
East grabbed a goal in the first period, and I also was able to capture a few saves by the goaltenders. As much as I would have loved to stay for the entire game–I made the decision to jump ship and go to the Alaska Aces hockey game just across the parking lot (literally).
7:15 pm: A rarity for me. I arrived early to an event. I know many of you will be pleasantly shocked by that. There’s nothing sweeter than having to sit around and do absolutely nothing in the midst of the chaos.
So I decide to invade Twitter with all of the game updates I can recall.
It may be hard to tell from the picture–but this stadium filled up pretty quickly after the pregame festivities. 4,200+ fans came out to the Sullivan Arena for Friday’s game against the San Francisco Bulls–a team that’s never won in Anchorage.
After grabbing two goals from both teams–I decide to shoot some iso-shots on the players. These come in handy when a player gets called up to the AHL, or NHL. When you’re hearing a story on the TV, it’s great to be able to see just that player, and nobody else.
That burned me.
I missed a goal because of it, but it wouldn’t matter. I catch the next two goals by the Bulls, and bounce out. I look down at my cell phone: It’s 9:22 pm. We go to air in 30 minutes. I’m 10 minutes from the station.
9:30 pm: Don’t ask how I got there in 8 minutes. Police officers don’t need to know. Anyway, importing the video always takes the longest–and in this case, it takes an additional 9 minutes just to load onto the computer.
In the meantime–I write the script for the Aces/Bulls highlight from the shots I know I’ll use. After that, I finish writing a script from the Service/Bartlett game for my Sports Director (he already wrote one for the West/East game).
9:46 pm: Editing the Aces video.
9:48 pm: Rendering the video, and send it down on FTP to our video server.
9:50 pm: John goes to air.
I’ll spare you any other details–but deadline pressure is where either people thrive, or die. I live for that pressure.
((By the way–these times are in Alaskan time–Just realized most of you reading this are in Central/Eastern, Sorry.. Think 3 or 4 hours before you))
Let me know what you think.
First things first: It’s been more than a month since I’ve put my thoughts on paper (or, screen), and WordPress–the platform I type on for this blog–has changed drastically. So bear with me.
Second Helpings: Many of you have asked, so I might as well go ahead and fill you in on how I’m doing:
Life is good at the moment. I’m definitely living each day as positive as possible. My car, affectionately known as “Bert”, is now not-so-affectionately sitting in my company’s parking lot. Car problems on a journalist paycheck…About that…
The weather is pretty solid up here. We were sitting in the 20s-30s for the past two weeks. A few days back we tallied up 7 inches of snow (giving us 11 on the ground, again). Roads are horrendous. The only way I can explain it is if you were to literally take your car and put it on an ice rink. You get the idea.
Since we’ve talked a lot has happened. I celebrated Christmas with my folks down home. Christmas for me came on something like December 3rd? That’s fine by me.
Katie (the girlfriend) came up to visit for about 10 days. I’m pretty sure she had a great time. I know she took plenty (and I mean plenty) of pictures. Words can’t express how fortunate I am to have her in my life.
Let’s see–where to go, where to go… Ahh, yes: If you have access to Facebook, I made the “cover photo” of our station’s Facebook page. I’ve started incorporating a new segment into our shows every week or so called “All Ryled Up” where I pick a spirited student at different schools, make them do something fun/answer a few questions, and they win a gift certificate. I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog, you understand the meaning. If not…Well…
People have been telling me if I can make it through January, the weather starts to lighten up. I’ll believe that when I see it. I know I’m stoked for the “Iron Dog” Snow-machine race.
Snow-Machine (noun): In the lower 48, also called a “snowmobile”.
That’s what normal people call it, anyway. I guess I’ll please the audience and say snow-machine. Don’t hold a knife to me.
Coming up in March we’ll be covering every single mile of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Apparently LiveU is setting us up with some more Live Backpacks so we can produce stories for other outlets across the country. Fine by me.
It’s hard to remember that every single day this year will be my first go-round. My first Alaska Aces match, football games, high school basketball games, Alaska Baseball League season, etc. It’s hard to get in a groove when all you know is the here and now. I have no past history to go off of with most of these teams.
I’ve become a fan of shooting hockey games. I think that was a requirement before coming up here, but don’t tell my boss.
I’ll keep it positive, and end on that note.