Stop whining; sports whuppings are nothing new

Feb 6 2011 - 3:02am

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Well, now. That's more like it.

On Thursday in girls high school basketball action, the Christian Heritage "Fighting Poor Sports" defeated the West Ridge Academy "Lady Doormats," 62-7.

That may seem like a fairly ugly score, but believe me when I say it could have been soooo much worse.

Thursday's game, of course, was the much-anticipated rematch between two squads that made national headlines just a few week earlier for what can only be described as the mother of all beatdowns.

Last month, Christian Heritage nipped West Ridge Academy, 108-3, in a contest that almost certainly taxed the journalistic abilities of sportswriters everywhere to come up with the right sports cliche to describe such a lopsided outcome. I mean, "blowout," "spanking," "shellacking," "massacre," "execution," "genocide" and even "mass extinction event" hardly do a 105-point spread justice.

Heated debates about sportsmanship and fair play have been swirling around a high school game that has seen more analysis than Danny Bonaduce, Carrie Fisher and all of the childhood actors of "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Facts of Life" and "Full House" put together.

Perhaps most curious is the fact that West Ridge Academy is actually located in West Jordan, home to the ever-popular Sen. Chris Buttars, R-Tolerance. And I confess to being more than a little surprised that Sen. Buttars hasn't already sponsored legislation this session making it illegal for: A) West Ridge Academy to field a girls basketball team; B) girls to play sports without written permission from the proper priesthood authority; or C) sheep and pigs to co-habitate in the same field.

But at least Thursday's 55-point can o' whup-bottom is much more palatable than the earlier meeting between the two teams. And it certainly beats the 80-plus-point drubbing the men of the Standard-Examiner once endured.

Ah, yes, I remember it like it was yesterday ...

It was the mid-1980s, and I was a cub reporter for the Standard-Examiner, fresh out of college. Well, one of the ways journalists built camaraderie in a newsroom back in those days -- I mean besides going out drinking after deadline -- was to play sports together. Softball. Basketball. Flag football.

So anyway, shortly after I started at the newspaper, one of the reporters put together a newsroom basketball team, and he signed us up for a recreational basketball league in Davis County. (Don't worry, we didn't play on Monday nights.)

As we arrived at the gym for our first game of the season, two identical white vans pulled up out front, and out jumped a dozen or more of the tallest black athletes I'd seen this side of an NBA all-star game. Not only that, they were all wearing matching warmups, with "CJCC" in block letters on the back.

"CJCC?" we wondered. "What does that stand for? Something-something Community College?"

Just before tipoff, one of the female reporters from the Standard-Examiner -- obviously there for mocking purposes -- made her way down behind our bench and whispered that she'd broken the code. "CJCC," she said. "Clearfield Job Corps Center."

Oh, great. This could be a very long night.

And it was.

It was a little like the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals. No, wait. The Washington Generals have actually played basketball before. It was more like the Harlem Globetrotters vs. General Washington. And his horse.

They ran circles around us, stealing passes, raining down three-pointers and punctuating just about every other possession with a monster dunk.

I don't remember the exact final score, because frankly, I stopped looking at the scoreboard once they got up by 50 points. But I do remember they easily topped 100, and that we scored somewhere in the neighborhood of 20.

Shellshocked, after the game a couple of us walked over to the scorer's table.

"Whew," one of our players said to the scorekeeper. "I'm glad we got that one out of the way first. So then, they're the best team in the league, right?"

"Them?" the scorekeeper said, smiling. "Heck no. They finished, like, fourth or fifth in the league last year."

Fourth or fifth? Uh-oh.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, despite such a thumping, we all turned out OK. And I think the West Ridge Academy players will be just fine, too.

Indeed, facing overwhelming adversity like that can often spur a team to action. In our case, that action took the form of immediately dropping out of that league and into one a bit more our speed.

Say, maybe West Ridge Academy could find a slow, white zone-players' league, too.

Contact Mark "White-chocolate Thunder" Saal at 801-625-4272 or msaal@standard.net.

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