Letter: No sportsmanship, no class

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  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 23, 2014 9:03 p.m.

    Good letter. I agree.

    March 22, 2014 11:25 p.m.

    @eagle - you are absolutely right, and immediately after my initial post, I thought of how all the tantrums I've ever seen Bobby Knight throw, I can't think of one that was against an opponent. I don't recall ever seeing him humiliate opponents with unsportsmanlike strategy, or hearing any such accusation against him.

    So, even one we typically think of in the context of boorish coaching behavior still shows respect and sportsmanship toward his opponents. Off the top of my head, I really can't think of a single high-level coach who manages his games like the coach in the article, if the article is accurate.

    Thanks for your spot-on defense of Bobby Knight - a passionate and well respected, great coach.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 22, 2014 2:08 p.m.


    I love your comments for the most part though I disagree with one thing. Bobby Knight is basically considered heel by many for his tantrums in the press, tirades against his players and officials though many of all of these love him. But yes, he lost his dignity many times compared to John Wooden. However, I think both Knight AND Wooden agree on one thing. And that one thing is that you win with dignity and certainly they would be more of the mindset of you and me on this issue vs. Redshirt. And anytime your philosophy jives with a John Wooden, you're on the right path.
    As for Knight, he wouldn't humiliate his opponents or embarrass the game or the spirit of competition in this particular way.

    As for Knight on other things, we all know he had his issues though if you truly investigate Knight, you might have a better opinion of him as his mistakes or shortcomings are well documented but more of his players loved and respected him more than not and him and Wooden graduated their players like few others that had that kind of success.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 22, 2014 1:58 p.m.


    I just put up some parameters. Again, I have no idea how Coach Maxwell handled the situation since I was not there. But as one who has coached you can both win and lose with dignity. Once the outcome, which has been defined well above, is practically decided, there is no point to humiliate your opponent further. There are ways in which your players can play hard but can be restrained by the strategy employed by the coaches. This restraint comes from how you substitute, to the plays you call, etc.

    March 21, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    @Redshirt - are the D students being held in place by the A students? Do the A students somehow take action that prevents the D student from higher achievement? A full court press, which is one team's aggressive, pro-active focus to steal a possession from the opposing team, is the equivalent exactly to what actions by the A students against the D students? Basketball teams try to prevent the other team from scoring - how do the A students attempt to prevent the D students from scoring? The simple fact is that A students engage in singularly self-promoting study and hard work to advance themselves - they take no defensive actions to keep others down.

    In other words, your analogy is completely irrelevant and makes no sense whatsoever.

    Also, who said there's anything wrong with winning, or beating another team soundly, or having a large margin of victory? The article made no mention that beating another team soundly was in any way inappropriate, and neither has any commenter. It was all, let me repeat, ALL about the MANNER in which the victors piled on unnecessarily, and the tacky actions of some fans.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    March 21, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    A merciless pounding is not good sportsmanship in any arena. There is no comparison to excellence in study, wherein a student competes against himself and the subject matter to master the class. The D student can pull himself up by studying and hard work, in fact he can attain a tie or overtake the top student by his own efforts, without the top student being diminished in any way. This is not even in the same universe as a comparison, and I'm surprised at your insistence that it's comparable, because I generally find your arguments pretty well reasoned.

    I challenge you to find a single professional or college-level coach who coaches his team the way described in the article. I guess top level coaches just don't know as much about sportsmanship as you and the coach at issue in this article. I'll take a competitive coach with sportsmanship and class any day over a pure bully whose goal is to humiliate others. Which, by the way, straight A students do NOT do simply by virtue of getting good grades.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 21, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    To "DSB" but in acedemics you do have the straight A student showing up the D student all the time. When the student with all of the D's is sent to the special classes for kids that have learning problems, everybody knows it. At the same time, when the special class for the smartest kids comes around, all of the kids know who goes there. Right there you have the separation, and you have the situation where the A student shows that they are that much better than the D student.

    If there is nothing wrong with keeping to the game plan that the coach already had, eventhough he had a large margin for victory, who is showing the poor sportsmanship? I would contend that it is the fans that are complaining about the point difference.

    The coach did nothing wrong, and the only people taking offense are people who were not on the court.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    March 21, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    @Redshirt - Not one commenter has even hinted there's anything wrong with winning or getting straight A's. This debate is about sportsmanship once you've ALREADY won the game from any practical standpoint.

    In your scenario, would you have the straight A student compete directly with the D student, one on one, in front of the class, every day, showing up the D student in front of everyone? Do you think it's acceptable for a teacher to allow this kind of competition for grades? The A student competes against himself, not publicly against failing students.

    Every college and pro basketball team dribbles out the ball on the last possession when victory is in hand. Are they failing to get the best out of their players? In a blowout, the winning team puts in subs, and plays more conservatively over the final minutes. Again, that's sportsmanship. The kind of relentless humiliating beatdown described in this article is just plain being a jerk. I don't believe you would coach that way.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 20, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    To "DSB" I am still trying to understand what is wrong with winning, even when the point difference is large.

    Would you tell the kids who consistantly get straight A's to not study so hard, and let the kids getting C's and D's feel better about themselves?

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    March 19, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    @Redshirt - I agree with many of your comments, but feel you're so wrong on this one. Eagle is exactly right. Once a team has a game decidedly in hand, sure there's nothing against the rules to keep your starters in at full throttle, or continuing with a full court press, or holstering imaginary pistols after every basket made, or setting legal brutal picks, reigning down 3-pointers, going repeatedly for long bombs in football when the receiver is worlds better than the safety, yelling AIRBALL, AIRBALL for 30 minutes, etc.

    When a game is totally in hand, and you keep playing that way, just because it's allowed doesn't make it right. It's called poor sportsmanship, lack of class. Everybody hates you for it. Do you have more respect for John Wooden or for Bobby Knight? Did showing class and demonstrating sportsmanship keep John Wooden from winning games, even convincingly?

    NO ONE has said a coach and players should be merciful by intentionally allowing an inferior opponent to stay within striking distance. The situations we're debating are far more than convincing victories, they're relentless humiliating beatdowns that should embarrass any winning coach, team, and parents involved.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 19, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    To "eagle" what is wrong with outscoring your opponent? Yes the coach could have rotated in other players more, but he was not required to. What is wrong with what the coach did? Some people didn't like it, but what is wrong with it? If I had a team that smashed their opponents 200 to 0, did I do anything wrong or did I do my job?

  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 18, 2014 10:54 p.m.


    You can still try your best and not run up the score. You can liberally sub and tell the subs to keep playing hard. There is nothing wrong with that. In football, you can still tell the players to execute the plays called but instead of calling long pass plays you call short passes and run plays. In basketball you can still play hard but not full court press up 40 points but work hard on other phases of the game in full effort and execution. This is the proper way to coach. If all of this was done in this game and Bountiful still won by 60 plus points, there is no issue. I don't fault the boys in any way. The issue might still exist with the fans and some of their behavior. But if the coach kept the starters in way past the time the game was a blowout, kept pressing and little substitution was done, it would be fair to have issue. I won't make judgment because I wasn't at the game but I will stand by the general philosophy offered as one who has coached, even quite successfully, for nearly three decades.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 18, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    To "Confused" Do you also teach your kids that they shouldn't do better than the other kids?

    Lets take this lesson out of sports and apply it to school.

    Would you be proud or ashamed of your child for getting 100% on a test when the rest of their class got 75% or less on the same test?

    Would you tell your child to shoot for a 24 on the ACT because you don't want them to out perform their peers?

    You may think that is sounds absurd, but that is the same thing you are teaching when you say that it is wrong for a basketball team to score a lot more than their opponent. Do you really want to tell kids that they shouldn't play their best?

    It isn't about winning or losing. I doubt the losing team was intentionally trying to lose. It is about doing your best and using what you have been taught to the full extent of your abilities. When you do that, some times you win by a large margine, and sometimes you lose. The issue is how you react to winning or losing. Are you as gracious losing as winning?

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    March 18, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    I teach my children that "Winning isn't everything there is in life".

    So do you teach your children to pound a kid into the ground and put him into the hospital when they have fights at school? I mean obviously the other kid is not as good as your kid right?

    There is no "Honor" in running up the score, As for ESPN article, I would expect nothing less, But I take mine ideas from people who actually matter and do this for a living. Lavell Edwards never ran up the score intentionally, he used subs so they could get experience, ran running plays so that it took time off the clock, he never once told his kids to back off and not play hard, but he also knew what It was like to be on the other end of the scale.

    There is nothing wrong with teaching children to do the best they can, but they also must learn there are limits to what is "Right".

    Only a person with low self esteem would think that running the score up is OK to do.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 18, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    To "Confused" what is wrong with running up the score? Some of the Seniors could be looking to get recruited for college basketball. How would it look to pull them out because they are scoring too good.

    Actually, a good coach knows that it is ok to run up the score.

    Read "Running Up the Score" on sports sign up, "Why You Should Always Run Up the Score" on FirstThings, and "Is running up the score a problem?" on ESPN.

    The problem with pulling back players and stopping them from running up the score goes contrary to what the coaches have been teaching them. By stopping them, the experts explain, that you are telling the kids on the team that it is wrong to be better than the other team.

    Do you really want to teach kids that it is wrong to perform better than somebody else? Especially in this case, where the only complaints are some of the fans and the score.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    March 18, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    There is a big difference between "Winning" games and "Running up the Score".

    BHS coach ran up the score by keeping his starters in, continuing to shoot 3's, full court press....

    If he had an ounce of class, he would have put his second and third string in the game when it was apparent that the game was clearly over.

    Every good coach knows when to call off the dogs when the other team is not as good as his team.

    Here is what I know for a fact.... BHS is going to run into a buzz saw in the future, and the coach of that team will show no mercy or sportsmanship.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 17, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    To "John Charity Spring" and "Irony Guy" and anybody else who didn't like BHS winning by too many points.

    I get the part about the students making obscene gestures or using foul language. That is definately out of line.

    However, the coach at BHS was doing his job. His job is to coach the basketball team and to WIN games. He is not there to make the other team feel good about themselves. The goal is to determine which team has the best combination of coach and players.

    Would you insist that Green Bay stop winning so much so that the other teams can feel good about themselves?

  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 16, 2014 4:50 p.m.


    Yes, that cheer is still around...

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    March 16, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    Re Sven:

    I don't recall any of the posters insinuating that the Bountiful team had not" worked their tails off to be as good as they are" and it is obvious that the Bountiful Coach " is a man who taught his players the value of teamwork, and doing their best" culminating in an outstanding season record. What in my opinion this very capable coach came up short on was teaching and leading his team how to win with "Class". There is much more to sports, games and competition than Just "Winning". How we win comes into play or at least it should. Do you or do you not agree!.

    In my opinion as a Coach, parent or fan, I would rather have my team walk off the court or field win or lose with "Class" than with a win with no class as did Bountiful that night!

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    March 16, 2014 12:40 a.m.

    To those taking me to task for my remarks, go back and read what I quoted from Steven’s letter. Hint: it's the first paragraph and it's in quotes. I was not responding to the childish antics of some of the fans, but was instead addressing the wimpy attitude that our society has been adopting, by looking at Steven’s criticism of the Bountiful teams legitimate win.

    So, in the mind of some here, the Bountiful Team’s outstanding teamwork and performance (e.g. “full court press”, and “three-pointers”) is being lumped together and compared with the behavior of some rowdy fans…seriously? Has it occurred to any of you that these kids worked their tails off to be as good as they are? Why not ask the Cyprus Coach why his team did so poorly.

    Steven, while you look at this Coach with nothing but contempt, I see a man who taught his players the value of teamwork, and doing their best. Sadly, we live in time where success (e.g. academic, business, financial) is treated with contempt by people like Steven. Unfortunate the way you’ve attacked these kids.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    March 16, 2014 12:20 a.m.

    "Many, many coaches from the little league level to the pro's will put in subs, and back off the scoring drives, when they are so far ahead that more points don't matter. That's a sign of class."

    Excellent point. Getting so far ahead in a game gives the coach an opportunity to let his subs get some playing experience.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    March 16, 2014 12:05 a.m.

    It in the High Schools, on the Freeways, and in the communities.

    This is not just a "Bountiful" problem,
    This is a "Utah" problem.

    And the problem is learned in the "homes".

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    March 15, 2014 6:16 p.m.

    Is the familiar cheer at the higher income Utah County high schools,
    "It's alright, It's ok. You'll all work for us someday",
    still popular at all of their sporting events?

  • tigger AMERICAN FORK, UT
    March 15, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    I understand a healthy lead, but 60 points is outrageous. I get that a coach needs to maintain a certain rhythm with his players to be ready for future games. I get that the subs need an opportunity to use and practice their skills. Sometimes emotions run high and family, friends and other spectators don't always see things objectively. Even giving the the coach these benefits of doubt, the game, as described, sounds awful. Worse than awful. Poor sportsmanship at its very worst. Poor leadership from coaches, team leaders, school administrators and parents. Wow, too many players and school kids learning such poor life lessons in this scenario.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    March 15, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    On the flip side, I would like to commend the sportsmanship of the losing team of this particular game. The took the loss in stride,they didn't whine to the officials, and they moved on. I am proud of the boys on the Cyprus basketball team.

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    March 15, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    Re: Sven

    You said it best " Sports can help teach kids to be good winners and losers." I think that's the point the writer of the forum post was trying to make! Sound to me like you would make a great replacement if the Bountiful coach decides to retire! Its a shame a great season record ends on a sour note because of these kinds of attitudes! Win at all costs is a pathetic lesson to teach young people! I am wondering if it wouldn't have been better to give the second string some seldom played minutes rather than keep the studs in to make an ill gotten statement!

    Back to your statement Sven, did that game make the Bountiful five feel like "Good Winners"?

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    March 15, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    I agree with the substance of this letter, but some of the comments went off track:

    @Sven- Do you think this was a war, or a game? It's fine to stand to defend your country or your beliefs with a backbone of steel, but this is about sportsmanship, on and off the court. Many, many coaches from the little league level to the pro's will put in subs, and back off the scoring drives, when they are so far ahead that more points don't matter. That's a sign of class.

    @JCS- I was finding myself in a rare moment of agreement with you- until you went off the deep end and made this about income levels. As I said above- this is about sportsmanship. How you suddenly made this about a "rich" school vs. a "poor" school has nothing to do with the the game, or the alleged lack of sportsmanship shown at this game.

    In sports, there are winners and losers. That's part of playing games. Unfortunately, we've come to make sports equivalent to war- destroy the enemy at all costs, demoralize them, and leave no one standing.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 15, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    Too bad not all coaches are like those from Roosevelt (wasn't it?) who took action to stop bullying by suspending the entire team until they had done some serious public service and apologizing.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 15, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    Its a game. If you want class, go stay at the Stein Ericksen lodge.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    March 15, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    As a Bountiful High alum, I'm ashamed to hear this account. If true, the story makes me sick. Where is the principal, and what is he doing about those abusive kids in the stands? Why is the coach running his program like this? Where are the parents, my neighbors?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    March 15, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    If the accusations in this letter are true, it really should start with parents of children from Bountiful HS. They should go directly to the Pricincipal and district and demand better behavior from the students and coach.

  • Betcha Waltham, MA
    March 15, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    I understand what your saying, we our the school that lives close to Bountiful, Woods Cross and we have been taking this from them for years.. I always feel the same way with the rivalry of Utah and BYU, If ever I have any thing on from BYU people make comments to me that are mean .. I get so tired of rivalries, why can't people just have there favorite team and cheer their heads off for them, and leave all the other teams alone?

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    March 15, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Steve is absolutely correct in his analysis here. Bountiful High is well known in Davis County for its lack of decorum and sportsmanship.

    By and large, the population of Bountiful High is higher income. Its sports teams have historically delighted in destroying lower income teams. Indeed, humiliating opponents appears to be the goal.

    If the UHSAA had any backbone at all, it would strip Bountiful of its ill-gotten trophy and would ban all its sports teams until the schoolas a whole realizes that high school athletics should be about displaying sportsmanship and good character.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    March 15, 2014 3:38 a.m.

    "Why would a coach have his team completely demoralize the opposing team? Why would he have his team full-court press for more than three quarters when the outcome of the game was decided in the first quarter?"

    Your comment perfectly underscores the fact that we are becoming a society of wimps. What, should there be a rule in place to give the losing team some mercy points? Should the winning team be penalized if they are winning by too many points? Good grief, this is a sporting event. Are you afraid these little darlings will be scared for life?

    Tell you what, just so nobody gets their feelings hurt, let's just quit keeping score. Wouldn't want their self-esteem to be damaged.

    Kids need to learn that in life, we don't always win; sometimes we lose. Sports can help teach kids to be good winners and losers. Everyone needs to understand, in this life, we don't have a utopia. sometimes you lode. Deal with it!