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Girls' Hoops Score: Pontificators 1,000,000, Sense-Makers 0 Print E-mail
by Mike Fisher    Tue, Jan 27, 2009, 08:13 am

   The final score of the girls’ basketball game was 100-0. But there’s another score being run up. Pontificators 1,000,000, Sense-Makers 0.

   Let’s see if I can’t score one for the Sense-Makers, using my unique qualifications: All the girls in my mom’s family considered becoming nuns, so I’ve got that private-church-school gene. I am the parent of a “learning-difference’’ kid who is a few dribbles short of that college athletic scholarship. I’m a media whore who knows all about trying to milk it on TV. And I’m a former coach who myself probably pushed a few envelopes in order to secure victories over 10-year-olds.

   So, let’s pass the ball around, Sense-Makers! Go, Fight, Don’t Lose By A Hundred!



   POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: Covenant (of Dallas) girls basketball coach Micah Grimes can be forgiven for getting caught up in the excitement. His little team of chicks works hard, gets in a game, things are coming easy, a “special milestone’’ (like the century mark in points) seems obtainable, and the next thing you know, we’re in a hurry to full-court press and launch quick 3’s.

But. …

   POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: He cannot be forgiven for not siding with his boss’ national apology for stomping hapless Dallas Academy by that infamous score of 100-0.

"I ... disagree with the apology," Grimes said in a message posted on a website. "We played the game as it was meant to be played."

   Turn in your clipboard, Coach. Covenant head coach Micah Grimes has been fired. And that is just. The winning team has the sense to apologize and forfeit the game. … and its ringleader – well after the heat-of-the-moment thrill of almost breaking the scoreboard – hasn’t the sense to pull his fangs back in his mouth.

  POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: Micah Grimes is probably somewhere right now, whispering softly to a close friend, “I have to stand by what I believe.’’

But if you have a conviction to something that it stupid, it makes your conviction stupid. It makes you stupid.

   POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: What it most twisted about this entire story isn’t the win or the loss. These things happen, and had it been 92-12 or 89-6, it still would’ve been a memorable (if not so round-figured) occurrence. No, the most twisted part is the way the national media (and national audience, ‘cause here I am throwing another log on the fire) has chosen to celebrate this oddity.

   ABC's Good Morning America offers just one example of how the media is turning the little losers into “heroes’’ and giving them "praise for their poise and grace against an overwhelming opponent."

   The Dallas Academy girls are now EVERYWHERE. The punishment of the loss is over. … “We’re Going To Disneyland!’’ is just around the corner.

   I saw a couple of local TV reports over the weekend, and the little girls looked like. … little girls. Shy and silly and flattered-but-uncomfortable to be on TV.

   By tomorrow, with all the ensuing exposure – and their suddenly increasing “grace’’ -- I’m thinking they’ll be a handful of Miley Cyruses.

   We’ve got the Today Show and CNN and CBS' Early Show and Ellen and I believe the kids have been featured on GMA TWICE.

   If these kids have learning differences, shouldn’t they maybe be going to class?

   I’m not blaming the kids here. Hey, when Channel 8 comes to practice, why shouldn’t the kids talk to the nice TV reporter? And if Diane Sawyer calls, you answer. And it sure seems like Obama is dragging his heels on this; when’s the White House phone call comin’ in?

   No, the school might want to shut this down.

   Now, I do not know the financial structure of Dallas Academy. The exposure might help with donations or enrollment or something. (My son attends a similar school, and I sure wish Diane Sawyer would somehow help me with the tuition costs.)

   But there needs to be a lid on letting kids be milked due to their infamy from sucking at basketball.

    POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: I think Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s gesture is lovely; he’s invited the Academy girls to watch a game from his suite. But I’ve got a suiter idea: Tony Cubes should invite BOTH teams. Let the girls meet ands mingle. Swap stories. Make friends. Be kids.

    And lock the door from the inside, so Diane Sawyer cannot get in.

    POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: There’s one more TV wrinkle to come here, you know. Coach Grimes is headed for. … where? A job as a school janitor? Maybe, but first – you watch – he’d headed to Leno’s couch.

   I know nobody does this. But it’d be rather unique if the people involved in this 100-0 tale would “pull a Sully.’’ That is, take a page from the heroic pilot Sully Sullenberger and accept the key to the city of Dennison or wherever tiny Texas burg he’s from and then snarl at TMZ to “Get off of my lawn.’’

    Do I come across as cynical, though, when I wonder whether Sully will finally break, and will soon be writing a book, photographed boozing with bimbos on Deadspin, pitching a “McSullyburger’’ and appearing as a guest judge on “American Idol’’?

   POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: You, Dear Reader, are a Sportsman. So you already know this. But let me clear it up, just in case: There are 100 ways to avoid scoring 100 points in a low-level girls high-school basketball game. One hundred ways.

   The one way to accomplish it? To take it all way too seriously.

   My youth coaching career eventually climbed up to where I was working with middle-school-age boys. But when I was young myself – 18, I think – I was the head coach of a Pop Warner-level football team. And we were damn good! We went 6-0 three straight years with the same group of kids. At the time, I thought one of the reasons we were damn good was because we “had an edge.’’ Example: Sometimes, when we were on defense to start the game, I’d instruct all 11 “Vikings’’ to rush the opponents’ line at the QB’s first sound. Eleven kids. Encroaching. On purpose.

   We gave up the five yards, but we intimidated the hell out of the other 11 little brats, I’ll tell you that!

   I did that when I was an 18-year-old coach. I matured and didn’t do it the next year.

   I think.

   POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: I’m not going to play the “Aw-Them-Girls-Oughta-Toughen-Up’’ card. I go back to my younger son; part of Tony’s learning difference results in him lacking the same level of body coordination as his older brother, whose skills made him worthy of a college-football scholarship.

    “Learning difference’’ doesn’t just mean IQ; in the case of Tony, the boy is a friggin’ genius. But he’s not a genius at making reverse layups or catching a football with one hand or turning a double play. I assume that some of these girls share Tony’s challenges, and therefore, the act of trying is truly an accomplishment.

    But it is not heroic. It’s just a little girls’ basketball game.

    POINT FOR THE SENSE-MAKERS: Want the true next chapter of this story? Let’s go out to Covenant someday and see if they’ve learned a lesson about sportsmanship. Let’s go out to Dallas Academy someday and see if, in their next game, they’ve learned to make a basket. (Again, to the Mark Cuban suite thing: Maybe the girls from each team, by co-mingling, could teach each other a few things?)

    In the meantime, are there any local stories about local kids who met a challenge, defeated it, and have yet to be congratulated for it by Al Roker?

    D Magazine’s FrontBurner to the rescue

   This kid from Richardson plays basketball despite being with only one hand and this kid from Grand Prairie moved to the U.S. five years ago knowing only Spanish, but is graduating No. 1 in his class with full-ride offers from MIT and Rice but unfortunately, neither of them ever lost – or won – by exactly 100 points.


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written by Booner , January 28, 2009

Fisher, I'm going to be paying attention to you from now on. You have the gift of common sense. Thanks.

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