COMMENTARY | Texans already know this story well since it’s theirs, so they’re dismissed from class, but for the rest of us, it should be noted that what has to be the first ever official bullying report filed over a high school football game is now fact. Um…the final score was 91-0…last Friday night (of course). Moreover, Texas state law requires the school accused to investigate the complaint and “file a report” (no doubt with the Texas Anti-Bullying Commission – now that the Texans are out of the room, we can all laugh at that oxymoron). Also, apparently the school accused must post the complaint on the school’s website.
Here’s how it went down, briefly: Class 4A Aledo High, the number one-ranked team in the state, rolled opponent Western Hills, despite pulling their starters after only 21 plays and agreeing to the second half being played with a running clock. The complaint about this shellacking was filed by an opposing player’s parent, who thus far remains unidentified. Technically, said complaint was filed against Aledo’s head coach, Tim Buchanan, who in a photo posted by SI.com, looks like a kid who got a new bike on Christmas morning. But Buchanan has made the appropriate comments: “It’s not something you can laugh off or anything like that. What they said was that I should’ve told my players to ease up and not play so hard.”
Let’s analyze: What happened here? Here are the possibilities:
1) Western Hills was totally unprepared for this game, which was hinted at by their coach, who only dressed 30 players, and at minimum some kid’s parent is a poor loser.
2) The parent filing the report must be the only person in Texas who actually thinks that giving little kids trophies for “trying” (or completing a season, or putting on shoulder pads correctly) is appropriate. He probably also loved those Little League “games” in which scores aren’t kept.
3) The parent filing the report is a lawyer! She knows that Buchanan will have to deal with this in a semi-serious way (his administration reportedly supports him). It’s the ultimate paper nerd’s revenge!
4) Despite pulling his first team, and apparently his second team, Buchanan may not have prevented what might amount to actual bullying, and by that I don’t mean scoring a touchdown. I’m referring here to a 270-pound lineman beating the sagebrush out of a 180-pound opponent, wrenching his arms and legs all around, and sticking his fingers into the little guy’s helmet and scratching his face. (Despite the best efforts of the helicopter parents referred to in #2, who apparently think the world should be competition-free, the point of football is winning.)
Before I go to my choice from the above, I’ll (apparently) digress and refer to an essay in an anthology I’ve been considering for my students; briefly, it has to do with “talk TV,” and the authors’ assert that one of the downsides of such shows is that they elevate irresponsibility. They make a pretty good case.
So, I’m betting a lot against #4, a fair amount against #2, and less against #3, incorporating the notion that #3 could be coupled with my choice — #1. Western Hills has to take responsibility for not being ready for this game. And the parent who filed this complaint needs to take responsibility for embarrassing his son on the heels of his already being embarrassed.