‘Participation Trophy Rant’ Puts Louisville Women’s Coach On The Map: As A Big Hypocrite
Sadly this is nowhere near as awesomely unhinged as Mike Gundy's "I'm a man! I'm 40!" speech, but it's of that species. Louisville women's basketball coach Jeff Walz -- the women's coach, mind you -- went on a terrific rant on Thursday after his No. 7 Cardinals (6-1) lost to No. 5 Maryland (6-0), his former employer.
Afterward, Walz not only criticized his team for lack of hustle and desire, but also indicted society as a whole. America, he announced, has become worthless and weak. And it's all because of participation trophies.
Walz, during his post-game remarks:
"Unfortunately, it’s our society. It’s what we’re building for.
“And it’s not just in basketball; it’s in life. You know, everybody thinks they should get a job. Everybody thinks they should get a good job. No, that’s not the way it works. But unfortunately that’s what we are preparing for. Because you finish fifth, you walk home with this nice trophy, parents are all excited.
“No. I mean, not to be too blunt, but you’re a loser. Like, we’re losers. We got beat. So you lost. There is no trophy for us. ... I’m not sure how it is with your all’s jobs — but with mine, if you lose enough, you get fired. And that’s just the way it is."
So is society rotting from the inside because nine-year-old girls are getting trophies for coming in fifth place in the city soccer tournament? Of course not. But this is the kind of dog-whistle rhetoric that rallies the fake tough guy crowd, and allows coaches blow off steam.
And just exactly where are these "participation trophies" that people keep talking about? These mythical objects are harder to locate in real life than an injury-free Tony Romo football season.
But to Walz, everyone, even the girls, are just too emotionally frail.
“You know, when you play three, four AAU games in one day, you lose three of them and then you win the last one and everybody goes home happy, you’re 1-3. I mean, I know it was a long time ago, but God darn, the days we played, when you lost, you went home. There was no friendship bracket. You know, ‘Let’s go on the left side to the friendship games so everybody can play two more games.’ No, you went home. You went home a loser. And then you worked at it if you wanted to be good. You figured out a way.”
But what's this? Turns out that in 2010, Louisville, under Walz, played in the Women's Basketball Invitational, which is literally a third-rate postseason tourney for those teams that didn't qualify for the NCAA or NIT Tourneys. In other words, it's a big friendship bracket for college women's teams that couldn't even get into the NIT. And if Louisville had won it, I'm sure that Walz would have happily accepted the trophy (they lost in the first round).
But didn't I just hear: "I mean, I know it was a long time ago, but God darn, the days we played, when you lost, you went home. There was no friendship bracket."
But Walz didn't go home that year. He took his loser team (his words) to Morehead State to try and become the 129th best women's team in the nation. Talk about a participation trophy ...
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