Boy Benched for Scoring Too Many Touchdowns (VIDEO)

Demias JimmersonWhile sports are great for exercise and keeping kids active, more than anything I want my children to play them because of the lessons they learn in doing so. Lessons like working together as a team, pushing yourself beyond what you think you are capable, and always doing your best. That's why a case out of Arkansas in which an 11-year-old boy is being benched for doing his best has me so riled up.

Demias Jimerson, 11, plays running back for his team at Wilson Intermediate School, and he's good. Really good. "He is going to score almost every time he touches the ball," his principal, Terri Bryant, told Fox. Which should be great, but instead of celebrating his unique talent, the league has limited his scoring and invoked a rule, known as the Madre Hill Rule, in which he's only allowed to score three touchdowns per game if his team has a 14-point lead over the opponents.

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No one wants to see another team crushed on the field, and that's why sometimes there are rules to limit the number of home runs per inning or touchdowns per quarter a team can score. Sometimes that's just the merciful thing to do. But to call out one individual and penalize him for his talent seems wrong, and it sends such a poor message to children.

My 8-year-old son has been on plenty of teams where he's not the best. There has always been that stand-out kid whose skills and abilities outshine the others. Sure, we'd all like that to be our kid, but it's usually not, and rather than wanting that star to step down so my kid can shine, I believe seeing that kind of performance from a peer will help my son step up and push himself to do more and get better. He may never reach that level due to genetics or desire or whatever, but he's not going to know unless he pushes himself. And that's what sports are about -- competition, with yourself and others.

Sure, it's supposed to be fun, but if you're playing a game, it's also about winning. You can muddy it down and try to make it all nice and touchy feely all you want, but at the core, teaching winning and losing are important lessons kids need to learn. Giving everyone equal playing time and just handing out trophies to everyone doesn't teach that. Disappointment is okay; knowing that someone else is better than you is okay; and sitting on the bench because your teammate is better than you is okay too. Sitting on the bench because you're too good is not. 

Excellence should be encouraged and celebrated, not stifled so others can catch up. Maybe that means moving Jimerson up to another league so he's further challenged, or the coach making a decision to have him sit out for awhile in games when they don't need the points -- that's fine, and the job of a coach. But for the league to make such a rule is wrong on many levels.

For his part, Jimerson isn't too upset. "I got, kinda got shocked because I didn't know that was gonna happen, but it did," he told Fox. "I'm ok with it."

In fact, he's seems like a really great, humble kid who is perhaps a better sport than I am.

I’m gonna run hard and bring our team to victory. But God always comes first, before anything, and grades second.

I hope to see him go far and do great things ... when there are no rules in place to stop him.

What do you think of this school benching Demias Jimerson for being too good?


Image via YouTube

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