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Teaching the Wrong Lesson

June 6, 2010 10:08:03.107

The mercy rule (if a team is winning by "too much", the game is just called as a victory for them) makes some sense in youth sports - sometimes one team is just so clearly overmatched that it's painful to watch more. But this?

In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default.

That's just stupid. In sports, it's easy to let your guard drop and be suddenly surprised. Trying to artificially keep games close is bad for all parties involved. The team getting beaten knows that they are being let off easy, and the winning team will end up being filled with rage that their victory has been stolen from them. I can hardly think of a more counter-productive move in sports.

posted by James Robertson

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