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THE IDLE AMERICAN On Winnng and Losing..
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 • Posted February 4, 2009

Column #301 for Release Saturday, January 31, 2009, or Later

As news of the day is processed, we are overwhelmed by bloated accounts that result in a cacophony of groans.

So, we welcome oddball stories that fit perfectly into the “man bites dog” category.

We are drawn to headlines that tease about goings-on that are 180 degrees from the norm….

  • * * * *

I sense that you are nodding, thereby tipping your hand that you are in the midst of the masses who feel the very same way.

Until recent days, who would have thought that proven winners in the sports world would dominate headlines in such unlikely and unbecoming ways?

Examples include: A). Covenant School’s 100-0 win over Dallas Academy in a high school girls’ basketball game, and B). A 1 a.m. traffic arrest in Austin of one of the nation’s most visible collegiate coaches….

  • * * * *

Covenant and its coach, Micah Grimes, have parted ways, and there’ve been more red faces than at a clown convention. The apology bucket for overkill has run over, and Covenant leaders have offered to forfeit the win.

Maybe the scene isn’t over, but the story has captured the curious across the land.

Small schools such as these aren’t used to such publicity. Until now, most of their major media mention occurs with cold weather listings of school closings….

  • * * * *

One doesn’t hear much anymore about forfeitures, unless winning teams are forced to do so for rule-breaking. When such occurs, a 1-0 forfeiture score is entered in the record book.

Back in the late 1940’s, Rising Star, Texas, had a warhorse football team, running rampant over all foes.

Their next opponent was to be tiny Pioneer High School….

  • * * * *

The late Lawson Cash wore many hats at Pioneer, including assignments as both superintendent and head football coach. One Monday morning, he placed a call to a friend who was head coach at Rising Star. They had an amiable conversation, but as it ended, the Rising Star coach mentioned that despite their long friendship, come Friday, his Wildcats’ gridiron fury would be fully unleashed.

Cash thought about that final sentence until late in the week.

On Thursday, he phoned the Rising Star mentor to announce that his team would forfeit the game. And that’s what happened. Cash figured that a 1-0 forfeiture loss in the record books would be preferable to a final score of 70-0, 80-0 or whatever, and might even save some broken bones….

  • * * * *

Tony Dungy, who recently announced his retirement as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League, is as classy as they get. Once when his team led by 27 points, he directed his quarterback to take a knee four straight times to run out the clock.

He knew, of course, that NFL tie-breakers considered margins of victory, but said that rules calling for teams to embarrass opponents are “lousy rules.”

I couldn’t agree more. Typically, superior teams’ coaches are ignoring major tenets of sports when margins of 50 points or so are recorded. Such coaches, usually without even “reddening up,” point to tie-breaker considerations. When coaches at any level annihilate opponents, they should have some explainin’ to do to the higher ups….

  • * * * *

As to UT Coach Augie Garrido, I am saddened, taking note of his tearful admission of a colossal mistake on the DWI charge. With more wins and national titles than any other Division I baseball coach in history, he’s done many things right. So “right,” in the eyes of UT leaders, that his salary is nearing $1 million annually.

The UT line score in pre-season shows no hits, no runs and one VERY big error, maybe more. That he refused to take a breathalyzer test is also lamentable.

The courts have yet to decide his fate, but UT leaders have announced the tiniest of wrist slaps: he will not coach in the opening four-game series of the season….

  • * * * *

Many fans cut him slack back in 2004 when he and his team were absent when they were to receive the runner-up trophy.

Garrido was apologetic then, too.

Regrettably, he may not have enough seasons left to dim the memory of this misdeed with the bottle; he’ll be 70 years of age on Feb. 6….

  • * * * *

Coaches should be held to higher standards than athletes in their charge. Historically, this has been conventional thinking.

Not so in the UT case. An athlete would have been dealt with far more harshly. In a world where values, ethics and standards are slipping southward at a rapid clip, educational institutions can and should hold the line. Administrators, coaches and players should re-visit what sports should be about.

These two scenarios call to mind an oft-repeated remark by the late father of my friend, A. L. Teaff. “That ain’t right,” Mr. Teaff would fume, “And it’s wrong besides.”…

  • * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. Send inquiries and comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.

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