I’m of two minds about a report at The Blaze.
Have you heard of the so-called “mercy rule”?
It keeps youth game scores artificially low by preventing more powerful teams from winning by lopsided margins.
Squads in the Northern California Federation of Youth Football often ignored the mercy rule in years past and received only warnings after violations.
. . .
The NCFYF has added teeth to the mercy rule this season for its age 7 to 13 teams, instituting a $200 fine for squads that win games by 35 points or more and a one-week suspension for violating teams’ head coaches, according to KCRA.
NBC Sports’ Dave Briggs called the move the latest chapter in the “wussification of America” and a “ridiculous rule,” saying it teaches “lesser teams that there’s always someone there to cushion to blow.”
But league brass beg to differ.
“It’s teaching them compassion for the other team,” Rochin said. “It’s teaching them sportsmanship.”
There’s more at the link. Here’s a video report about the problem.
I agree, it sounds like wussification at first . . . but there are other factors to consider.
- This only applies to elementary and middle school kids, as I understand it. High school football isn’t affected.
- I’m sure we’ve all seen reports of parents egging on their kids, demanding that they be given more time on the field, suing, abusing – even assaulting – coaches who they believe are holding their kids back, and so on. If this ‘mercy rule’ removes or minimizes opportunities for such parents to behave in those ways, that can’t be all bad.
- I note that Little League Baseball also has a mercy rule. It seems to be applied firmly and (apparently) fairly, even in the Little League World Series, and doesn’t appear to have attracted anything like the controversy that this football mercy rule has engendered.
On the face of it, I’m not sure that a mercy rule in football for players below high school level is necessarily a bad idea. I note, too, that those objecting to the rule in the video report above appear to be those with a vested interest in doing away with the rule. Their opinions are not exactly impartial. However, since I was raised in a very different sporting tradition (yay cricket!), I’m not the best-informed person about the American sporting culture.
What say you, readers? Let’s hear your views in Comments.