Winning isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing

My son played sports since he was 4 years old, and one thing I taught him at a very early age was that you play to win.  Whether it be organized baseball or backyard football.  There is a reason they keep score.  I remember when helping out the coaches of that 4-6 year old T-Ball team of some parents getting angry because we had a tendency to run up the score a little.  I was the third base coach and still get a chuckle at some of the memories of that season, this was back in the day when they actually kept score in T-Ball, these days they don’t keep score, they don’t keep track of outs and let everybody bat.  That isn’t baseball, and that’s fine, I just wish they would call it something else, like playtime on the baseball field.

I was a very successful baseball coach, we competed for the city championship every year I coached.  We played to win….period.  The parents of the kids that played for me loved my style because I actually taught the game to these young kids.  But with that came a responsibility, to play hard.  No matter if you were a natural like my son, or the kid that could barely swing a bat.  If you struck out every time you were up to the plate, that was fine with me as long as you were aggressive and were trying your best.  I was harder on my son than all the other players on the team combined, something I learned from playing for my dad with my brothers.    I also told my players that the name on the back of the jersey meant nothing, it was the name on the front of the jersey that they were playing for.  Baseball is also a sport that has a lot of history and tradition, and with that history comes a responsibility to play the game “the right way.”  What does that mean?  Well, when you are up by double digits you don’t attempt to steal bases, you don’t hit and run, you don’t run your mouth and trash talk…you basically throtle it back, because you know that anybody can beat anybody on any given day.  There’s a Karma in baseball, and it will come back and bite you if you disrespect the game.  But we ALWAYS played to win, even when we were up by double digits.  This rubbed some coaches the wrong way, and made me a few enemies along the way.  They expected me to tell my players to quit playing.  My response to them was simply, if you want to stop us, it’s pretty simple….get some outs. 

This brings us to the Dallas Girls Basketball team that won a game 100-0.  Word comes today that the coach was fired for disagreeing with the administration on the apology that was issued on the teams behalf.  His statement that got him fired follows, but I must say, this coach did the right thing.  Firing him was a cowardly act by the administration of his school and they should be ashamed of themselves.  Maybe they should just ban all competitive events at this school and sit around in a circle and sing campfire songs instead.

In our on words: The Journey to a 100-0 victory
By: Coach Micah Grimes

After counting down the seconds until the final buzzer, I lined up my girls to wish the opposing team well, and then headed into the locker room for our post game rituals. After the girls and I said our goodbyes, I headed home to reflect like I always do after every game. But this was no ordinary game. Little did I know that in the next eight days, Barry Horn would write an article for Dallas Morning News about our 100-0 win over Dallas Academy that would start a firestorm of articles, nationally broadcasted news stories, and hateful email about me and the 8 young ladies that make up the Dallas Covenant School girls basketball team. I’ve always taught my girls to value honesty, integrity, compassion for others and to stand up for those values despite the consequences. So it is for Andi, Savannah, Taylor, Lauren, Wren, Marquita, Blair, Tiffany and our assistant coach Kelly that I tell our story.

The Team. We are hardly the “elite basketball powerhouse” that we are described as in the National and local media. Up until 3 years ago, we rarely had a winning season. In fact, during my first year at Covenant four years ago, we experienced one of our worst seasons – a losing record of only 2 wins and 19 losses that sunk to an 82-6 low in a game that forever changed us and how we approached the game of basketball. Two years later we made the first Final Four appearance in the school’s history. Like Dallas Academy, Covenant is a small Christian school, which is why we are in the same district. We don’t have a home gym so we rent out facilities or gym space in the community so we can practice, and then watch game film at the home of one of the players. We’ve never had a full roster. Only about 30 high school girls attend Covenant and only 8 of those girls play basketball. During many of the games this year, we played with 6 girls, and sometimes only 5. When players fouled out, we’ve had to finish the game with 4. But we always finished the game.

The Players. Rarely does a coach find a player who will run the extra laps, do the extra push-ups, or shoot the extra baskets without complaining. I have 8 such players—2 freshmen, a sophomore who is new to the school and team, another sophomore who has been with us for two years, two Juniors who have been with us for 3 years, a Senior who is new to the team and school, and another Junior who is new to basketball and is learning how to play for the first time in her life. My girls believe in each other, motivate each other, and see each other as family. The respect and admiration I have for them and their parents are the main reason why I come back to Covenant each year.

The Game. The game started like any other high school basketball game across the nation. The teams warm-up, coaches talk, the ball is tipped, and then the play begins. We started the game off with a full-court press. After 3 minutes into play, we had already reached a 25-0 lead. Like any rational thinking coach would do, I immediately stopped the full-court press, dropped into a 2-3 zone defense, and started subbing in my 3 bench players. This strategy continued for the rest of the game and allowed the Dallas Academy players to get the ball up the court for a chance to score. The second half started with a score of 59-0. Seeing that we would win by too wide of a margin, running down the clock was the only logical course of action left. Contrary to the articles, there were only a total of four 3 point baskets made; three is the first quarter, and only 1 in the 3rd quarter. I continued to sub in bench players, play zone defense, and run the clock for the rest of the game. We played fair and honorably within the rules and in the presence of the parents, coaches, and athletic directors for both Covenant School and Dallas Academy.

The Apology. In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Website, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed. We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity. We honor God, ourselves and our families when we step on the court to compete. I do no wish to forfeit the game. What kind of example does it set for our children? Do we really want to punish Covenant School girls? Does forfeiting really help Dallas Academy girls? We experienced a blowout almost 4 years ago and it was painful, but it made us who we are today. I believe in the lessons that sports teach us. Competition builds character, and teaches us to value selflessness, hard work, and perseverance. As a coach, I have instilled in my girls these values. So if I loose my job over these statements, I will walk away with my integrity.

Sincerely,
Micah Grimes

Box Scores:

1st – 35
2nd – 24
3rd – 29
4th – 12

Players’ Quotes
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In the past I have played basketball and have always enjoyed the game because it builds character. You learn to play against others, but you also learn to play against yourself. You conquer your fears and your mind. You are no longer an individual, but a team growing together through wins and losses.

Coach Grimes came to my house to talk to me about this new season he had established. He said that this season was about building “a family”. Winning was not the most important thing to accomplish. The goal was to suit up, play our best, and ultimately unite together as this “family” by loving each other on and off the court. After hearing this, I immediately wanted to play for Grimes.

You see, Coach Grimes is one of the kindest men I know. He is full of humility. For someone to assume that they know him and what happened in the game from an article by a man who has never met Coach or our team is wrong. He is a good man, who strives to do his best in every aspect of life. His perseverance should be rewarded.

This is the best year yet. He has taught me so much. Our team is amazing and we hope to make it to state. However, we know that there are many obstacles along the way. It is God testing us to see how we will respond. Will we trust Him?

This man that you put down has inspired me in many games where I wanted to give up and go home. And no matter what happens I will continue to play for Micah because I play for him off the court as well as on the court. I will defend him in anyway that I can because he is my family.

That night before our game against Dallas Academy he asked our team, “What is my job?” We responded saying, “To love us.” Then he said, “Now what is your job?” And we responded, “To love each other.” This is what the Covenant Lady Knights are called to do on and off the court. Love.

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When the article was first published I was furious; thinking in my mind that the guy who wrote it wasn’t even there. But as time went on, I started to get sick to my stomach every time someone brought it up. I was sick of talking about it and tired of all the negative publicity. The worst part of it all was that no one asked us how we felt or what we had to say. The school simply responded on our behalf saying that we are sorry and we are willing to forfeit. This was a high school district game in which we played solid defense that resulted in good offense. We were not playing at our full potential and I resent anyone who implies that we did. I missed a significant number of lay-ups and free-throws. We ran the clock and we slowed down our offense and took the press off in the 1st half of the 1st quarter, there was not much else that we could have done. Further Coach Grimes is an amazing Coach and a devout Christian. He has improved my game 100% and I will always give him the credit. I love him with all my heart; he started this family, he is the head of this family, so without him there would be no family. This team means more to me than anyone could imagine, and I wouldn’t change any part of it for the world.

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This year had been a very hard year for all of us but Coach always helps us through everything with our personal “heart to hearts” during practice. He has helped not just me but “Our family” not just in basketball but also spiritually in my walk to Christ. We are a true family and love each other dearly. Nothing we did to Dallas Academy was intentional.

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Coach Grimes has helped me develop my game but most importantly my character. He encourages me when I’m down or when I have a bad game. Coach is a godly man who has always been selfless and a born servant. I love him so much and we’re a family that sticks together through the joy and the pain of the game. I’ll always stand by him. I hope I can return the favor for the countless hours he has invested into my life and the team.

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I feel as if I was thrown under the bus because if I show up anywhere wearing a Covenant Jersey or Sweatshirt, I get glares. If we did something wrong, we would’ve apologized that night, not after the media fiasco. We have news vans trying to get in the school that watch us and wait to follow us. Aren’t people being hypocrites by shunning us and saying we aren’t Christians?

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I have ADD and ADHD. There is nothing that separates me from anyone on the Dallas Academy girls team, so there is nothing that should separate the value of our sides. What we did that night is what we are on this team for: to play basketball and win. As for the media calling our actions “unchristian”, that is very sad. For this team, and our coach are a living testimony. I am not sorry for how we played that night because I know that no harm was intended and I also know no harm occurred. I would hope America was more willing to read the lies in between the lines. The coach is as important to the team as we are—we are with him 100%.

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5 responses to “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing

  • Joe

    Hey successful baseball coach,

    Get a clue. If winning is the ONLY thing….I pity your son.

  • Doug Miller

    Try reading the whole post instead of just the title.

  • gretchenarchangel

    Thank you. I totally agree with you and with Coach Grimes. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who thinks not keeping score and letting up so the other team can “catch up” is beyond ridiculous. This is why we have people waiting for bailouts instead of working for what they can get.

  • Steve

    I disagree.

    100 to nothing in a game of ones, twos and threes indicate that the coach ran up the score.

    gretchenarchangel is just as guilty of misconstruing the events as the media. Notice their comment is not really related to the story, or they have created the world’s worst strawman argument. Bailouts? C’mon, who do you know that is waiting for a handout?

    To get to the point of this blogpost, I think one of the things that it presents is the story of the women on the team. That is refreshing and necessary. But, it doesn’t do it for me. I would expect that any player who treated his players well would be disheartened at the firing of their coach. He seems like he cared about his team.

    But, you need to care about all as a coach, and a Christian one at that. At no point in time do you need to stop trying to play. But, GOOD sportsmanship is not trying to bury the other team, or your fans (who are not good sportsmen) rooting for you to hit one hundred, which I bet led to the women trying to reach it. The point guard had 48 points. That says right there that she should have been on the bench more and the ones new to basketball should have played more.

    Could this have been avoided? Yes. Is the school wrong for throwing him under the bus? Yes. But, is what happened at the game right? It certainly isn’t.

    Good narrative to have out there, but I only feel sorry for the players on both teams, not the coach. He ran it up, and because someone else ran it up on him, he said never again. I hope the win is a salve to the wound that someone opened up on you.

  • Ryan289

    I truly agree with you im 17 nand lined up for a scholarship because of coaches like you if i wasnt pushed i could have ended up in some acrappy career wondering what if, im most likely still going to go to the crappy job but i wont be wondering what if anymore.

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