With that in mind, what lessons are being imparted by the decision of the Northern California Youth Football League to enforce its “Mercy Rule”? Simply put, the rule dictates that if a team wins by 35 points or more, that team is fined 200 dollars and the coach gets a one-week suspension. There is also an option to replace the first string with the second and third string if the score appears to be in danger of getting too high.
You can read the rule book here. You’ll want to scroll down to page 13.6
KCRA reports that while parents are ticked, league officials claim that kids were quitting the league because they were tired of losing.
The lesson being imparted to the winning team is that hard work and dedication means nothing (A la’ “You didn’t build that!”?) To the losers the message is that a loss is someone else’s fault. All in the name of fair play and preserving self-esteem.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of short stories “Welcome to the Monkey House” there is a story entitled “Harrison Bergeron” It is set in an America in which all people are not created equal but are made so. The physically attractive must wear masks or clown noses so as to not hurt the feelings of the less aesthetically pleasing. Those with higher I.Q.s are forced to wear headphones over which loud noises are broadcast, designed to disrupt their thoughts.People who are physically strong are shackled with weights to make certain they do not outperform their peers. The title character rebels against these laws, and is ultimately shot dead by the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers.
Vonnegut had a flair for satire, and apparently prescience. Although the Golden State has no Handicapper General, it would appear that the groundwork for the policies is being laid.