Best biting comment after losing by 159 points …

From the coach of a girls basketball team that scored 2 in a 161-2 game:

“People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for his team, which isn’t learning the game the right way,” Bloomington coach Dale Chung said.

via Girls high school basketball coach suspended after team’s 161-2 win | For The Win.

Football (American) still king of high school sports

I don’t know many kids who play youth football. But in my local elementary school, tons of people play youth soccer. I saw some spreadsheets at one time from which it was easy to figure out that nearly half of the boys in second grade were playing.

But the death of high school football, Bob Cook reports, is greatly exaggerated.

One big reason:

Or it could be that football, like track and field, will always have high numbers because at most schools it’s one of the few sports in which nobody gets cut.

It’s easy math. A typical high school may have 50, 60 or even more football players on its varsity, then similar numbers on its junior varsity. Maybe even a C team or a “freshman” team. At a lot of high schools, previous football experience isn’t a prerequisite. They need the numbers.

High school soccer? Good luck. My town typically has 200 boys and 200 girls per grade level playing soccer. Roughly 30-40 percent of those kids will go to the same high school. That’s 60-80 per year. If you’re not playing travel soccer, it’s going to be really difficult to make the team.

Then you have the rituals, as Cook points out:

When I’ve picked up my son after he emerges from the locker room after a game, girls are there saying hi and telling him what a good job he did. This does not happen after his chess tournaments.

It’s Homecoming week at my son’s high school, and it’s a big, football-centered deal. I don’t recall my son getting his locker decorated because of his water polo participation, nor a cheerleader asking to wear his jersey on game day, though that might be because in water polo there was no homecoming, nor jerseys.

Anachronistic? We might think so, but it’s still going on.

Top football prospect / unknown soccer player chooses soccer

Drake Davis is a sudden celebrity within the soccer Twittersphere. The high school junior and four-star football recruit with scholarship offers from major programs like Alabama and Florida State apparently wants to play soccer instead.

So is this the Day of Much Rejoicing, in which the USA gets a big-time soccer player to give up a football career for soccer stardom? Top Drawer Soccer’s J.R. Eskilson has the reality check:

Davis is a mystery in college soccer recruiting. There is hardly any mention of him from the prep scene.

I’m glad TDS couldn’t find much on him, because I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me.

And now that Davis has left his Louisiana home and transferred to Fork Union Military Academy in rural Virginia, what sort of club soccer can he play?

So in the era of Development Academy and other ultraserious clubs accounting for the bulk of college prospects, can a great athlete (I think we can assume that from his football credentials) make it in soccer without such developmental advantages? Will he get a full scholarship offer from the limited money college soccer programs can spread out among recruits?

It’s hard to see this as any sort of tipping point for U.S. national programs. If you’re nowhere to be seen in the national scene as a junior, the odds of being the next Oguchi Onyewu (Deadspin says Altidore, but he’s listed as a “striker/sweeper,” and there’s more demand for players on the backline) are quite small.

But we can dream, right?

Are all scholastic sports a waste of time?

That’s the question raised in this pointed essay from The Atlantic: The Case Against High-School Sports and a follow-up from

The examples cited are extreme. The Atlantic found schools that managed to fund its football teams while the science labs rotted. The University of Oregon’s students apparently slipped academically as the football team got better. That’s not good. But it’s one school — not a huge sample size.

That said, these are legitimate questions that fly in the face of some sacred cows. We’ve been programmed to think athletes (particularly female athletes in Title IX arguments) are more likely to stay in school and succeed. But that’s not always true, and we all know it. Especially not in college. There’s a reason the NCAA started tracking graduation rates so obsessively.

Another issue here, especially for the soccer crowd: Are schools a better place for sports than clubs are? From a school budget point of view, maybe clubs are better. From a family perspective, maybe the schools are better. You can’t tell me a kid is better off hopping in a car a couple of times a week to go practice with a club somewhere else when there’s probably a perfectly good field or gym right there at the school.

Football is the easiest target when schools need to cut back. That’s a lot of money to spend. But it’s hard to cut football out of a school’s social calendar. And unlike soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and several other sports, football doesn’t offer a lot of non-school options.

I was raised with the old ideal that kids needed to develop mind and body (and spirit, in my YMCA days). My tiny high school had a full athletic program, and roughly 90 percent of us played something. I admire that ideal, but I understand the expense argument.

So here’s a heretical idea: How about having more intramurals and less travel?

Maybe you could have tournaments within each school. From those tournaments, pick All-Star teams that compete against a couple of big rivals and then into state tournaments.

This would get many more people involved at big schools. I can already tells you how many players in youth soccer have no chance of making a school’s varsity or junior varsity with only two teams per school. Why not spread things out a bit?

No, you didn’t have to win by 105 points

It’s astounding that whenever one of these high school basketball blowouts like this week’s 107-2 thriller in Indiana pops up, some dudes always pop up to say, “Oh yeah, well, you wouldn’t want the other team to just stop playing. My Southwest Birdpatch County team beat a team 198-1 one time, and that was after the coach put in the fourth-grade JV players and told them to pass the ball five times before shooting.”

Let’s do some basic math, shall we?

High school basketball games are typically 32 minutes — 8 minutes per quarter.

Let’s say you slow down a bit and shoot every 30 seconds — maybe your opponent takes 10 seconds (still relatively fast) per possession and you take 20. Then let’s say you shoot mostly 2-pointers and hit a staggering 75 percent of your shots. So every 2 minutes, you put up 4 shots and hit 3 — 6 points. That’s 3 per minute. If you score 3 points per minute, that’s 96 points.

And again, that’s if you’re hitting 75 percent of your shots in a half-court offense. That’s not going to happen, no matter how weak the other defense might be.

The losing team was apparently in “an aggressive 2-3 zone.” Great! What better time to practice passing the ball against an aggressive defense?