The “mercy rule” in youth sports usually stipulates that if one team leads by more than a specified number of points, the game ends, to avoid humiliating the kids on the other team. We have no quarrel with that, but here’s a new twist: The Good Men Project (goodmenproject.com) reports that some propellerheads running a kids’ soccer league in Ottawa have declared that if a team leads a game by six goals, it loses. That’s right. A team can only lead by five. Once it gets there, it must not score again until the other team scores, or it automatically loses. The game ends.
“Okay, kids, um, we’re leading by five, so maybe you’d better just — like — look inept or something, and let these palookas score one or two. In fact, I guess we’ll just pull our goalie, and you all mill around until they find a way to poke one into the net. And cross your fingers that they don’t bounce one off your shin into their own, or we take a loss.”
Seriously, what is the coach to tell his kids? “Uh, don’t try so hard. It’s not sporting.”
How does this help the “self-esteem” of the other team? Are they supposed to be so dim that they can’t tell the other kids are pulling their punches? Are the leaders supposed to develop acting skills? “Make this look good — we don’t want the other team to know we’re not really trying?” If humiliation is what these monkeys-with-parasols are trying to avoid, they have found a way to inflict it on their children in the most exquisite way — treating them as if they were idiots. Do they really think the kids don’t know?
This reminds us of the headmaster of a school we yanked our children out of swiftly when he attempted to eliminate letter grades. “If little Suzie gets an A, that”s fine, but what about Chuck, who gets a C?” he asked in a letter to parents. Poor, dim man. Didn’t he know the kids were already on top of this? He can try all he wants, but the kids have already told Chuck that he’s a not the brightest bulb on the tree. And Chuck already knows it.
So — What muttonhead came up with this five-goal rule? And how does it improve on the original mercy rule? Either way, the game ends. Clearly, the intent here is to keep the game going, but the only way to do that is for the winning team to lie down. If they make their flop too obvious, the losing team is abjectly embarrassed. What does that teach either team? Compassion? Or disgust? Because that’s all we’re left with for the dull-witted champions of equity who came up with — and approved — this latest attempt to pretend that achievement is somehow shameful.
A stupe du jour to Ottawa — all of it. This kind of rot spreads like Nutella, and must have infected the entire province by now.