A Philadelphia youth football team won by too many points Saturday, so the coach may be fined and suspended from the league, according to WCAU-TV.
The Conshohocken Golden Bears, featuring players age 7 and younger in the Keystone Sports League, jumped out to a 30-0 lead over their opponent. Sounds great, right? However, such a dominant performance also creates a difficult situation for the coach, and the players.
League rules stipulate that teams can’t go up by more than 30 points, so that no team gets embarrassed by a score that’s too lopsided. But instead of just ending the game when a team hits the 30-point threshold, the winning team is forced to continue playing while also trying not to score.
Late in the game, the coach, Kyle Williams, called a timeout and pulled his starting players. He put in the kids who don’t normally see much action.
And what happens when you put in players who don’t normally play? They want to go hard and try to score. Which is why a 5-year-old backup offensive player took the ball and broke a big play, while Coach Williams chased him down the sideline asking him to fall down.
Any rule that results in a coach desperately begging a 5-year-old child not to give his best effort on the field of play is missing the point of youth sports.
Regardless, the boy didn’t listen. He scored his touchdown, putting the team up 36-0 and potentially costing his coach a lot of money and a possible two-game suspension.
Fortunately for Williams, he has an influential ally. His brother-in-law is former NFL receiver Torrey Smith, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, among other teams. Smith was outraged by the situation.
“Today’s story of ‘We are building weak children,'” Smith began on Twitter. “The youth football team in my wife’s hometown had a game today, they won 36-0. They don’t allow you to win by 31 without some type of punishment. The head coach is now suspended for two games and fined $500. Are you kidding me?
“@YouthKeystone is trippin!,” Smith continued. “1. Kids need to learn how to deal with failure. Don’t want to get smashed? Play better. 2. Life doesn’t let up. When it rains it pours. 3. The other kids can’t give their all because there is a rule. ‘Work hard but not too hard,’ that’s stupid. 4. It’s hard to find youth coaches as is but you consider fining a coach $500 an appropriate punishment? 5. If you truly want to have a slaughter rule, simply stop the game. How do you coach or play knowing that you can’t score? That’s just stupid.”
Williams’ own team’s executive board said it doesn’t condone Williams’ choice to run the scoring play, and his punishment could be made official during a hearing sometime in the next few weeks.
“I have three sons,” Williams told WCAU. “I’m not gonna tell my son, especially if he’s running the ball, ‘Don’t go out there and give it your all.'”