There are five minutes left on the clock and the opposing team scores, again. The score is 7-0, the latter your team’s score. The teams are obviously unevenly matched, but the rival team keeps running up the score anyway. Is the team displaying poor sportsmanship? Should they stop scoring out of pity?
Celine Coy, Academy of the Holy Names junior varsity soccer coach, is very familiar with the issue of teams running up the score. She has coached teams that have faced opponents who have done this. “It’s poor sportsmanship to continue to put more pressure on a team that is clearly unmatched,” Coy says.
She believes that a coach should be able to “rein” the team in when they are clearly better than their opponents. Running up the scores on another team “doesn’t do anything for you or the opposing team,” she adds.
Abby Sullivan, a Holy Names student and member of the JV soccer team, shares similar feelings with Coy about this subject. Sullivan has witnessed a team running up the score against her team first hand.
She described the opposing team doing it as “cocky” and “sore sports.” The scoring “overkill,” she says, is the fault of the coach. “The coach should show sympathy for the other team, and work on other things, like they were in practice and not continue scoring,” she explains. Sullivan has also experienced a team laying off scoring against her team as well. She said that she was very pleased with this and thought it displayed good sportsmanship.
Her team, on the other hand, didn’t exactly have the same reaction. “They were a little upset because they felt there was no point in trying any more and kind of gave up, but were thankful and appreciative that they [the other team] had laid off,” Sullivan adds.
On the other hand, Richard Cummings, parent of a Holy Names student and a former member of his high school’s tennis, soccer, and football teams, states “overscoring is in the eye of the beholder.” He asks, “Is it overscoring if a team is winning by a large margin and puts in their second string players, but are still able to score?”
Cummings explains that “even if the team is up by a lot and put in their second string, they should still try their hardest. In sports, you should always try your best.” As for cutting back on scoring, Cummings says that it “seems like you’re no longer trying and is condescending to the rival player.”
Suzie Fernandez, a student and basketball player at Holy Names, says that she has witnessed this scoring “overkill” as well. Fernandez stated that this excessive scoring angered her but also made her determined.
“It made me want to play even harder,” she says. Fernandez also concludes that the coach was most at fault for the overscoring, not the players. The coach should know when to substitute out their best players to lighten up on the other team.
This issue of teams running up the scores is a serious, rising problem in many sports. Most, not just those who play or coach sports, would agree that this scoring “overkill” is a display of poor sportsmanship and gives an unfavorable impression of the team’s coach. However, there are still those that voice a different opinion and believe that one should always be playing one’ s best.
Grace Cummings is a freshman at The Academy of the Holy Names