On Jan. 7, I attended the Cedar Creek/St. Joseph girls high school basketball game. I figured I would see a well-played game between last year's state champs and a young and upcoming St. Joe team.

Unfortunately, Cedar Creek was much too quick and athletic, and the game quickly turned into a rout. By halftime Cedar Creek had built a 20-plus-point lead, and it was obvious that St. Joe had no chance. When the second half started, I was very surprised to see that Cedar Creek not only still had all its starters in the game - it had made only one substitution in the first half - but that it continued its full-court pressure. Cedar Creek quickly increased its lead to more than 30 points. The team continued to press through the third quarter. It wasn't until there were only four minutes to go in the game with a 40-point lead that Cedar Creek put its second string in.

Winning is great and should always be stressed, but I don't see who benefits from coaching like this. This was a perfect opportunity for coaches on both teams to give their other players a significant amount of playing time without endangering the outcome of the game.

I have no children in either program, but I felt bad for the kids who never got to play at all and for the parents who came to watch their kids. The dropout rate of kids in athletic programs increases greatly with age, especially with girls. Coaching like this is probably one of main reasons. Cedar Creek is going to the playoffs. Concentrate on winning then. Don't pad statistics by denying others playing time in noncrucial situations.

If you let more of the kids have some fun and show off their skills in front of their friends and families, I'll bet a lot more kids would hang in longer. That is really the whole point, isn't it?


Mullica Township


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