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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors May 24, 2016

10/30/2013 12:01:00 AM
Harbor Springs...Now and Then
Cynthia Morse Zumbaugh

I'm not sure how many of you saw the news story last week from Fort Worth, Texas, where undefeated powerhouse high school football team Aledo defeated neighboring Western Hills High School 91-0 in football. Following the game, a mother of one of the players from Western filed bullying charges against the Aledo coach and said that "everyone in the stadium was privy to the bullying." Keep in mind that the other coach didn't feel this way. "We just ran into a buzzsaw, you know," Coach Naylor added. Aledo "just plays hard. ... They get after it, and that's the way football is supposed to be played in Texas." The other team didn't feel this way. The Aledo coach had benched his starters before halftime, he instructed his team not to pass. Short of having the quarterback take a knee on each play, I'm no sure what else he could have done.

Here's a news flash to that mother. Sometimes some team/people are simply better than others. That's not bullying; that's life. Harbor had a basketball game in the seventies when they scored more in the first quarter than the other team did in the entire game. I remember one game against Pellston where Jeff Bodzick pretty much outscored the Hornets on his own. Was that bullying? There was one game where Harbor scored 100 points more than the opponent. Everyone from both teams played; one was simply better.

There was a high school football game in Kansas in the 20s that ended with a score of 256-0. A Louisiana high school team beat their opponent 211-29. The Broncos lost a Superbowl by 45 points; those mean ole 49ers and Joe Montana, picking on poor John Elway. Pretty amazing, Elway managed to overcome this loss and come back to win a couple of Super Bowl rings.

When the "Dream Team" went to the Olympics in 1992, they defeated their opponents by an average of 43 points per game. The other teams weren't crushed by the defeats; one of their opponents said that, "those guys were on another level-a galaxy far, far away."

Learning to lose is at least as important as learning to win; I'm not sure when the thought of losing became so horrendous. It happens. I think it is a disservice to children to NOT keep score, to save their feelings by not letting them lose. Rather, shouldn't they be taught to lose with grace? I remember seasons of baseball and sometimes football when we did not have stellar teams. We still went to the games, we still cheered and no one went home in a major state of depression. We lost, you moved on to the next game.

I remember sitting with my mom at the dining room table night after night playing Scrabble from the time I was old enough to form words. She never let me win, we didn't stop playing and after a few years, I was winning part of the time. Eventually, I won most of the time. Same with chess or any other game we played; if you lost, you lost.

I play Words with Friends online now and one person who beats me quite regularly told me last week, "You know, there are sites to help you cheat on this game." What would be the point? You certainly don't get the same satisfaction if you win if you know that you cheated.

You can try to shelter a child from ever having to lose, but eventually they will go out into the world and I guarantee you, they will lose at something. Maybe they won't get into the school that they wanted, they won't make a team or get a job that they hoped for; if they know how to lose, it won't be the end of the world for them.

If I had to name a bully from the Texas story, it would be the mother. Not only is she doing her child a disservice, she put a pall on the game for both teams. Tim Buchanan, the Aledo coach, said that "none of his players felt good about the final score, and believes they were confused by suggestions that they bullied an opponent."

We have some Halloween babies to start our birthday wishes, Happy Birthday on Thursday to Emily Barkley, Lora Backus and Ashley Wilson. On November 1 we say Happy Birthday to Delores Krantz and to Margaret Thompson and on Saturday, November 2 to Katie Backus, Debi Topolski Brecht, Steffany Wenz Young and my brother, David Morse. Sunday we send birthday greetings to Wally Sabin, Marcia McDonald, Amber Nethercott, Marty Petrowski, Melanie Petrowski Irwin, Tim Babcock and our own Kate Bassett. Monday, November 4, we send greetings to Mark Zumbaugh, on Tuesday to Jill Yeager and Layne Hovey and finally on November 6 to Karen McKinney Orlis, Patty Smith Fairbairn, Eva Lauer and stop by Glen's to say Happy Birthday to Bill Marsh.

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