Blowout games a growing, negative trend

Renee Rosenow

No lead is safe in sports. That is a motto many coaches live by and preach to their players. It is a way a coach can motivate his team to play hard through the entire game. Most of the time that saying is true. I mean, a lot of people just recently watched the Tampa Bay Rays blow a 7-0 lead to the Boston Red Sox.

However, some leads are more than enough and can not possibly be lost. Naples High (Fla.) defeated Estero High (Fla.) by only 91 points. That’s right, 91 points. Naples scored a total of 13 touchdowns in the blowout win. The score was 70-0 at halftime. I can’t even imagine what the coaches for both teams had to say to their teams at the break. There is really nothing to say. Games like these are not good for either team. They give the winning team little to no practice and it only discourages the losing team.

Unfortunately, this is starting to occur more often in high school sports. Not only in football, but all sports. This game was not even the highest scoring high school football game in the nation last weekend. A game in Ohio ended with a score of 96-0.

High school sports are a great experience for those who participate in them. It is really too bad that something like this has to happen. It is nearly impossible to prevent, though, because a team can be the best in the state one year, and the next year they may not be so good. Different schools are also better at different sports.

Wisconsin divides the schools into divisions by school enrollment. This is really the only fair way to do it, but it still does leave a lot of problems. Blowout games like the Naples-Estero game are hard on a lot of people. They are hardest on the winning head coach though. What is a coach to do in that situation?

In high school sports, the ultimate goal is to win a state championship. Playing a blowout game does not help a team at all. If the coach plays the starters the whole game and runs up the score, then he is displaying poor sportsmanship. But what if the coach puts the reserve players in to simply take a knee? That is almost worse than actually scoring. It is literally a slap in the face to any team when you just stop playing.

This is the type of situation Naples coach Bill Kramer faced last Friday night. Kramer played his reserve players for most of the game and in some cases, the entire game. Naples still put up over 90 points. Of course there were angry parents who sent Kramer nasty emails. The parents were wondering how he could run up the score like that on a team. But the emails didn’t come just from the Estero parents.

Kramer received angry emails from the parents of his own players. They were upset that their kids were not left in the game longer to pad their stats. To pad their stats? Are you kidding me? How can you possibly be upset that your kid didn’t get to score one more touchdown in a 91-0 game? Sadly this is what coaches have to deal with in unfortunate circumstances like this.

Parents are great and I realize that playing sports really would not be possible without their help and support. But they often step over the line and complain about everything and anything. I guess I just don’t understand how they can possibly be upset when their team won the game in convincing fashion. Even in good, close games, they find something to complain about. Estero head coach Rich Dombroski was shocked when he heard what Kramer was dealing with. He made sure to send Kramer a reassuring email, letting him know he did nothing wrong. There is no better way to handle the situation. Both teams have to go out and play the game, and whatever the score is, it really doesn’t matter.

Blowout games like this are going to happen all the time. The Naples and Estero coaches handled the game in the best way they could, regardless of what the parents had to say. The best thing the players can do is play the game and then work hard to get better for the next game. After all, the athletes play because they want to, not because of the politics that come along with it.

Metz is a senior print journalism major and sports editor for The Spectator.