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Sept. 21, 2015 — An unlikely “milestone” game

Last Thursday, Ginger Kincaid, the head coach of Glenelg (Md.) became the 48th known member of the 400-win club in scholastic field hockey.

The way the team did it, however, may be unprecedented. Glenelg beat Columbia Hammond (Md.) by a score of 21-0.

As we said a week ago, we can’t begrudge the veteran coach of her team from winning by that large a margin. The game is a lot different from when it was a pastoral game with orange slices served at halftime. Plus, the “haves” in the game now have an enormous advantage over players from school districts which either do not fund middle-school sports or who have players who pick up a stick for the first time in ninth grade.

And, as one published report said, Kincaid emptied her bench early and eleven different players scored goals, including a number of people who hadn’t gotten that many minutes thus far.

Oddly enough, this match wasn’t the biggest margin of victory Kincaid has enjoyed over Hammond this calendar year. Last spring, she coached the Glenelg girls’ lacrosse team to a 20-1 win.

It just goes to show you the differing levels of commitment to scholastic athletics. Even as close as Hammond and Glenelg are, their on-field showings are a world apart.

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3 Comments»

  Adam wrote @

To beat a team 21-0 is ridiculous. Once you’ve emptied the bench and are still scoring, maybe it’s time to start playing with 10, 9 or 8 players? Maybe make your team make a certain number of passes before shooting on goal? I wasn’t there, so maybe Glenelg did pull players or make extra passes. Regardless, just because a team can score 21 points, doesn’t mean it should. It’s the responsibility of the coach to model good sportsmanship and no matter how you spin it, 21-0 is poor sportsmanship.

  Al Mattei wrote @

I’ll disagree with you, mostly because we’re talking about two schools which are only a dozen miles apart. What is it about kids born in and around Glenelg that is so fundamentally different from children born in Columbia?

It’s all in the training and preparation and how towns give their youth recreational opportunities. Columbia should have several ridiculously good field hockey and girls’ lacrosse teams because of the in-town competition amongst Hammond and Wilde Lake and Atholton and Oakland Mills, etc.

Regrettably, I see this all the time. Too many downtrodden teams see their situation as “their lot in life,” and don’t have either the initiative or willingness to improve. And that’s a damn shame.

  scottrj wrote @

Glenelg and Hammond are worlds apart in most every respect (even geographical proximity w/in Howard County). One is rural, overwhelmingly Caucasian, and generally affluent (the last two in particular being characteristic of the field hockey & lacrosse communities nationwide). The other is none of those things (nor are the other in-town Columbia high schools, either). Given that, it’s no surprise that niche sports like FH and lacrosse don’t take root there; the bigger surprise would be if they did. What’s more, the city of Columbia itself doesn’t furnish youth recreational sports programs. Those are offered through the County.

That said, winning 21-0 doesn’t constitute “poor sportsmanship” per se. That determination is totally situation-dependent. Glenelg’s won too many blow-out games through the years not to know (and perform) the drill: pull the starters early on, play people out of position, pass the ball around before shooting, etc. But there comes a point where playing keep-away from an overmatched opponent is even more humiliating & demeaning to them than simply knocking the ball into a wide-open net from point-blank range is.

IMO and experience, in that scenario it’s way more important to the players on the losing side that they feel their opponents treated them with dignity and respect than whatever the numbers on the scoreboard (which are only transitory) may reflect. To be certain, I’ve seen young women in tears after games b/c opponents made fun of “how bad” they were. But I can’t recall a single instance of one bemoaning, say, a 12-0 loss b/c it would’ve only been 9-0 if the opponent had stopped trying.


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