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The “Wussification” Of America?

World News – While growing up and playing team sports we did not win every single game. There were times when our team got blown out by a better more skilled team.  But those losses and blowouts helped us learn how to deal with loss, defeat, pain,  and most importantly recovery.

mercy rule football finesYou are not going to always win in life be it in sports, relationships, or your professional career. Learning how to deal with that disappointment and then continuing to fight makes us stronger. Why would we take these lessons away from children? It seems that in some areas of America it is already happening.

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.

“We lose a lot of football players because their teams lose so badly,” Robert Rochin, deputy commissioner for the league, told KCRA-TV. “If they are constantly getting beat, who wants to play anymore? We lose kids all season long because of that.”

So from now on, mercy will prevail.

The NCFYF has added teeth to the mercy rule this season for its age 7 to 13 teams, instituting a $200 fine for mercy rule football fines 1squads 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.”

Proponents say it also helps “create a level playing field” when there’s a disparity of talent between opposing teams, KCRA reported.

In addition to the penalties, if a team is leading by more than 28 points at halftime, KCRA reported that the first-string team from the winning squad must sit on the bench so the second- and third-string teams get more playing time (and presumably help to even out the score…or at least stop it from increasing).

But some players and parents says the newly aggressive mercy rule is hurting teams, undermining players’ development, and actually increasing the chance for injury.

“Now they are afraid their coaches are going to get suspended and they are not going to have a coach to come out here and play football,” said parent Kelly McHugh, whose son James doesn’t get as much playing time with the mercy rule.

Some parents said the mercy rule endangers players who hold back, making them more susceptible to injury.

“The kids who are in the position of trying to protect their coach are backing off and are at a higher risk of being injured,” father Brent Moore said.

But while league officials say there were more than 30 mercy rule violations last year, there have been no violations so far this year, KCRA reported.

Dave Urbanski,

Here’s the report from KCRA-TV, via YouTube:

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