Saw a train wreck Wednesday just by reading an ESPN headline: "Girls' basketball team wins 107-2."
I stared at the numbers just to see if they were changing colors or shape. I mean, isn't that what you do when you feel like you are hallucinating? When a basketball team wins 107-2, many things come to mind, such as how spectacularly idiotic, mean and insensitive the winning coach from Bloomington South (Indiana) High School must feel now after the Tuesday night game.
"I'm not sure what the lesson is here," said Steve Bell, the girls' coach at Montgomery, quite possibly making one of the most impressive understatements in sports history.
That maybe common sense is not all that common?
"I'd have to apologize to the other (losing) coach after the game," said Eric Mehtlan, who coaches the girls at Willits.
And then promise the players from Arlington High School that he would pay for their therapy bills. As it is comedian-actor Mike Epps of "Hangover" fame has said he will visit the Arlington players very soon to cheer them. Geez Louise, when a comedian says he's coming to your rescue, isn't that a little bit like asking Big Bird to come over and cheer you up after you've been laid off?
I mean, this is basketball, the one sport that can humiliate an athlete unlike any other. Football players wear helmets; you can't even see if they have a pimple much less a tear. Baseball players drop fly balls in center field, 300 feet from you. No one ever knows what a hockey player looks like. Swimmers can go under water and have a good cry. But basketball is so intimate ...
"They are wearing shorts and tank tops and you can see their faces," Mehtlan said. "Their emotions are right there for everyone to see."
Clinical psychologists in Indianapolis just upped their hourly rate. Chris Kaufman, assistant commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, is at a loss. Understand, there is no shot clock in Indiana high school basketball. A team can go into the Four Corners, where the ball is passed interminably from one player to another. It usually happens when one team clearly realizes it is outmatched and tries to keep the score down in the hope of keeping it close. No one in Indiana, Kaufman said, has ever really promoted the idea of installing a shot clock.
"We tend to hold the ball a little longer than in other states," Kaufman said between yawns (just kidding).
So why wouldn't the Bloomington South coach, Larry Winters, go into the Four Corners when his team got up, say, 40-1, in the first half? (Arlington hit one free throw in the second period and one free throw in the third period.) When you're beating someone 40-1, what could a coach fear? That the other team suddenly will run off 39 unanswered points and make a game of it? Why not stall and get the game over with as soon as possible?
"I'm in agreement with you on that one," Kaufman said.
The Arlington coach, Ebony Jackson, could have taken her team off the court at halftime, refusing to play. That's what the coach of the South Torrance High School girls basketball team did on Feb. 7, 1990. Lisa Leslie of Inglewood Morningside High had scored 101 points at halftime. Remember, it's halftime! Her team was winning, 102-24. The South Torrance coach, Gil Ramirez, said nuts to this. To him this was a blatant act of ego and greed. He yanked his team from the gym before the second half.