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From the Catbird Seat... Winning the right way

It is an unfortunate fact of life in high school sports that from time to time, games will be played where one team is much better than the other. That's the case in college and professional sports as well, but in high school the differences can ...

It is an unfortunate fact of life in high school sports that from time to time, games will be played where one team is much better than the other.

That's the case in college and professional sports as well, but in high school the differences can be more pronounced. One such incident has made national news.

Last week in Dallas, The Covenant School met Dallas Academy in a girls basketball game. Covenant led 59-0 at halftime, 88-0 after three quarters and went on to win by a round score - of 100-0.

The debate over the ethics of such a one-sided blowout is raging. The Covenant School has since, in order of occurrence, apologized to Dallas Academy, sought to forfeit its own victory, and fired its coach.

"It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened," said Kyle Queal, head of the school, speaking in a statement last week. He said the school would request a forfeit loss because "victory without honor is a great loss."

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Indeed, there was a lot to dislike about Covenant's win. An Associated Press story last week said that the Covenant players were continuing to press the ball on defense and shoot three-pointers on offense well into the fourth quarter.

There's no reason for that, of course. It isn't terribly hard to know when to call off the dogs - and when that doesn't happen, it makes news.

Dallas Academy hasn't won a game in four years, and reportedly has eight players on its varsity. It boasts about its small class sizes and has about 20 girls in its high school according to the Associated Press.

So the game apparently had "mismatch" written all over it. So, two questions arise: first, why was the score allowed to get so far out of hand and second, why was the game played?

No one knows the answer to the first question but the second question actually teaches a life lesson. The game was on the schedule.

Every now and again, we hear about leagues and sports where score isn't kept. That in itself raises an added debate as to the purpose of youth sports. I've never been an advocate of such things - I believe in keeping score for a reason. In life, you can't avoid keeping score.

In life, most people are going to lose more often than they win. When you win, and you enjoy it, you enjoy it more when you win the right way. Covenant didn't win the right way, and it's a lesson those players will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Yet, I say let them keep their win - because it will serve as a reminder of how to win, and lose, in the right way.

Even though Covenant didn't win the right way, Dallas Academy lost the right way - and that does carry a bonus in life.

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Their players were quoted by the AP as saying they were frustrated about the loss but felt it was a learning opportunity.

"Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing," freshman Shelby Hyatt said in a rather unforgettable quote. "Keep trying, and it's going to be OK."

Life is like that. How you react to defeat - sometimes of the crushing variety - defines you as a person and sometimes as a citizen as well. All praise to the Dallas Academy players, who continue to win after having lost. They've been invited to a Dallas Mavericks game by one of the NBA's most notorious sore losers, owner Mark Cuban. So maybe everyone will learn life lessons here.

"Our girls just moved on," said the mother of one the Dallas Academy players. "That's the happy part of the story."

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