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MCPS: It’s Time to Implement a Mercy Rule for Everyone

Gabe Reyes, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Coaches often express as much sportsmanship as possible, shaking hands and telling athletes “good play” in order to boost morale and set an example for how to act. Another common sportsmanship tool is to pull starters and put backup players in when a team has a strong lead. Unfortunately not all teams follow this important rule.

Most of the time when teams are leading by a ridiculous amount, that team removes their starters, playing backups until the clock runs out. When teams don’t do this, it sets a poor example for student athletes and treats competitors unfairly.

Recently, in the game between the girls varsity soccer team and the Northwood Gladiators, the Rams were up 6-2 at the end of the first half. This is a sizeable lead against a team that would in total win two games all year. Normally, teams would remove their starters here, or perhaps after two more goals, just to make sure their opponent would not make a comeback. The girls did not do this, instead only removing a few starters. They continued to dominate the Gladiators until the final score was 12-2.

There is no excuse for allowing a high school game to move from a dominant but fair win to a blowout victory which leaves one team feeling broken and disheartened.  A four goal victory would have made a clear statement; a 10 goal win was merciless and cruel.  

There is no excuse for allowing a high school game to move from a dominant but fair win to a blowout victory which leaves one team feeling broken and disheartened.  A four goal victory would have made a clear statement; a 10 goal win was merciless and cruel.  

The type of good sportsmanship MCPS teams should be striving for was evident in the the boys varsity soccer game against Northwood HS, in which the Rams won 5-1. They pulled their starters late in the game, around the 20 minute mark, giving the backups 20 minutes of playing time and experience. This also slowed the pace of the game and evened the playing field so all players received a more balanced experience from the game.  This is what sportsmanship looks like and should be the official policy for MCPS on how teams should play on the field.

In light of the girls soccer blowout victory, MCPS should implement a clear a mercy rule for each sport.

Recently, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA)  implemented a rule for the Winter 2017-18 season which states that there will be a 35-point mercy rule in all basketball games.

MPSSAA’s new rule should be mandated in all state high school sports because they end games in a sportsmanlike manner. By ending the game, the team can regroup and recover from the loss looking ahead to their next match.. That’s the beauty of the mercy rule: it saves a team from total annihilation.

In the varsity football game against Richard Montgomery HS, the Rockets beat the Rams 49-8. Perhaps there should’ve been a mercy rule to save the Rams from such a crushing defeat. With a mercy rule, the team wouldn’t have had their spirits crushed.

Many teams in MCPS suffer these crushing defeats every season, which disheartens student athletes and model’s poor sportsmanship.  It’s time for MCPS to take the lead and set a good example for all school sports.  

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The Student News Site of Rockville High School
MCPS: It’s Time to Implement a Mercy Rule for Everyone