The 54-0 Lake Highlands High win against Samuell High earlier this week caught flak from some, praise from others, apathy from another group, and the attention of national press. (The LHHS baseball website lists the score as both 53-0 and 54-0, so there’s some dispute as to the exact number of runs. But, it was more than 50.)
It’s a big deal. By the National High School Record book, the score was a state record and is ranked in the top ten nationally.
So, yeah, it’s a big deal.
With that being said, I don’t think it’s a travesty on the part of the kids or the coaches involved.
First, 14 of the Lake Highlands 18 listed roster players had at least three at-bats. So not all of the starters even played the entire five innings.
Second, as stated in my article on Wednesday, there were no home runs and only six extra-base hits. Out of 44 hits, there were only six that went for more than a single.
Third, as stated in an article by the Dallas Morning News, LHHS head coach Jay Higgins has won 784 games, and was inducted into the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame just last year after 44 seasons at Lake Highlands.
He doesn’t need a big win against a District 9-5A opponent to validate his legacy as a coach.
Also, I’m pretty sure there is no ill-will between the teams, especially with this being the first time Samuell head coach Mike Pena has played Lake Highlands. Considering these two teams didn’t even play last year, I don’t think it was malicious in any way.
Throughout my years of high school baseball, no-fence softball and pick-up basketball, and reporting on college, pro and high school sports, I have experienced and have seen others experience both sides of the coin.
I’ve been up by 20 runs and down by 30 jump-shots. I think we’ve all been in a situation that seemed out of control. When you’re up by that much, I wouldn’t say it’s the best feeling. Having to watch somebody else suffer is not necessarily what drives us. I think we’re much more likely to want to help somebody up than kick them when they are down.
More than likely, the Lake Highlands players were in the dugout thinking about how to tell Samuell players “good game” when they shook hands … and meaning it.
Granted, there were probably other options than getting base-hit after base-hit, like say kneeling the ball on the two-yard line with seven seconds left in the game like Brian Westbrook did against the Cowboys a couple years back. When I left that game, I thought it was more of a slap in the face than if they had scored.
What I did find interesting was that Pena said all 17 Samuell players showed up for practice the following day. They didn’t quit. They want to get better and never let that happen again.
I think that takes guts.
Should there be a run-rule limit? I don’t know, should there be a run-rule limit on our failing economy? Is run-rule limits how the real world works? Isn’t sports supposed to reflect real life? Should teams that are less-likely to win play against more dominant teams? I don’t know, shouldn’t everybody get an opportunity to play the best and see how they fare? Should countries who have superior weapons fight against countries with lesser ammunition? (Okay that’s a little extreme huh?)
A Plano basketball coach once told me that he wanted his players to face the best the country had to offer, so that when they came to a State Championship situation, they were prepared for the emotional rush. An Allen football coach told me the exact same thing.
Both won State Championships, and their players have gone on to play at the highest levels of college ranks. Their philosophy was that competition brings out the best in players.
So, should the Samuell kids be protected? Should all kids who take part in athletics be protected by a run-rule limit? Or by restructuring of districts in order to allow lesser teams the to play only on their level?
Or do you think athletes should be challenged? That they should be given the opportunity to find out what they are made of, and if they fail, they should be given the opportunity to get better?
Better yet, are high school sports considered recreation or competition?
Now that is a kicker question. I’ll bet there are tons of varying opinions there.
I welcome your thoughts. I find it interesting to see how others feel when it comes to athletics. Who knows, maybe we’ll come up with a solution right here!