Mac Engel

The moral of another Aledo blowout: Keep playing

Alexus Jones and Aledo defeated Burleson Centennial 47-39 in January in a much closer game than the Bearcats’ bi-district playoff win over Western Hills.
Alexus Jones and Aledo defeated Burleson Centennial 47-39 in January in a much closer game than the Bearcats’ bi-district playoff win over Western Hills. Special to the Star-Telegram

After one quarter the score was 27-0. At the half it was 43-0.

This was not a football game. This was a basketball game.

What does a coach tell a team that trails 43-0?

“I told them we’ve just got to get better. The game is far out of reach, so we are playing for next year,” Fort Worth Western Hills coach David Kubicsek said. “This is the beginning of next year. Do the right things.”

Through the end of three quarters, the score was 52-0.

What does a coach tell a team that is ahead 52-0 with eight minutes remaining?

He clears the bench early and, “we are going to just go to play half-court defense, and we are preparing for on down the road,” Aledo coach Mike Pinkerton said.

Unbeknownst to most of America, on Tuesday night, the Aledo girls basketball team defeated Western Hills 67-8 in a playoff game.

Of course it was Aledo and Western Hills.

In 2013, Aledo defeated Western Hills 91-0 in football. It drew national headlines when a parent of a Western Hills player charged that Aledo had “bullied” his son’s team. There will be no claims of bullying after this rout, nor should there ever be. It’s sports, and blowouts happen, sometimes by embarrassing margins.

More than 40 years after the creation of Title IX, our girls are still getting defeated in sports by embarrassing margins and, unless it’s your daughter, nobody cares.

A basketball score of 67-8 will not receive the national attention as 91-0 for two reasons: one, it’s girls basketball and, two, these types of margins are common in women’s and girls sports.

Title IX was created by a pair of Democratic legislators and signed by a Republican president — Richard M. Nixon — to create the same opportunity in education for men and women. While it succeeded in doing that, no piece of legislation can create real opportunity on the playing field itself.

No one loves to level the playing field more than a liberal politician, but not even Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton could close the preposterous gap that exists for our girls within the games they so often play.

No one bothered to consider that — after the sports were available — the games would be, you know, close. Or a game at all.

Just this season, Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis lost in girls basketball by the scores of 56-7, 89-9 and 62-8 and 48-5. Fort Worth Carter-Riverside lost a game 72-1. The Mansfield girls team finished the season 8-21, but it defeated Dallas Spruce 71-4.

That is not sport.

This is a small sampling from one season in one area; these types of scores are going on all over the country.

“It’s not fun; we don’t want to embarrass anybody,” Pinkerton said. “If you look at the scores out in West Texas, you see these scores all the time.”

This is the reality of women’s sports. There are a handful of good teams, and the rest don’t belong on the same court or field. There is a reason why softball was dropped from the Olympics. America routinely blew out the rest of the world to the point where it was not sport.

Participation among girls in sports steadily rises, but the retention level normally doesn’t compare to the boys. There are a variety of factors: The coaching generally isn’t as good, and neither is the competition. Girls often tend not to be as committed to sports as boys. Plus, some girls just get sick of playing in blowouts.

In the bid to empower our girls by encouraging them to play sports, we never factored in what continually having their brains beaten in during a game might do.

“It does take a special person,” Kubicsek said. “I think it can get to people that they don’t want to be a part of this. They see those scores and they get embarrassed. They might get made fun of and they can’t handle it, so they quit.”

As far as Kubicsek’s team?

“They are doing fine,” he said. “They were in a good mood [Wednesday].”

What can anybody do about it? Quit, or keep playing and hope it improves. Title IX ensures the games are not going away for our girls, but no one can make their games competitive.

“I believe the gap is closing, I really do,” Pinkerton said. “It’s just takes a long, long time. You do have your female athletes who want to be successful. We just need more of them.”

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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