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Mercy rule in sports

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Have you ever watched a game where one team is getting obliterated to the point where the game isn’t even fun anymore? Well, there’s a solution! The mercy rule, also known as the knockout rule, is an early ending to a game due to a lopsided score, in which a team is dominating the opposing team. It is a rule that brings the game to an early stop out of mercy for the losing team and is a rule that, frankly, should be implemented into every sport.

Having been put in a position of a team that was being completely dominated, the mercy rule would’ve fit in great. It was the third game of the season for our soccer team against our rival elementary school, all was going well for the first five minutes, but once they scored, everything fell apart. They began going on a rampage of goals and each goal scored gave us less and less motivation to continue the game. By the end of the game, the score was 11-0 and it left all of our players devastated. The experience was horrible and it set the tone for the rest of the season; we lost the rest of our games.

The idea of sports being fun goes down the drain when you go through the experience of multiple humiliating losses. An experience that a kid can remember for a long time, leaving a lasting impression on sports, could possibly stop one from participating again. However, this can possibly be prevented by the mercy rule.

The mercy rule would for one, end the game faster for both the players of the sport and the people watching, who more than likely have seen enough domination occur throughout the game. Furthermore, boredom would be avoided, as watching a game where one team is being destroyed by another isn’t exciting anymore and it just becomes the amount of time left until the game finally comes to an end. For the players who are losing by a large margin, it saves the remainder of their energy and doesn’t put them in a position where they give up for the rest of the game.

Currently, baseball, softball, basketball, and soccer are the only sports with a mercy rule. Baseball and softball teams in the United States always follow this rule, while basketball and soccer teams only use it on certain occasions. In softball and baseball, if a team is ahead by 10 runs within the fifth inning (seventh for baseball), the game is ended.

Soccer mercy rule doesn’t differentiate too much, as the game is ended once a team leads by 10 or more goals at halftime or at any point forward.

The basketball mercy rule, however, is a bit different from the previous. Rather than ending the game after a certain score, it uses a “running clock.” It is when the time left in the clock is not stopped at any point until the game is over, making the game finish faster, which is used when a team is trailing from 30 points or more.

The mercy rule has its opposing viewpoints and its downsides. Some people may argue that the rule is killing time that could be used by coaches and players for experimenting; new plays, new formations, etc. In addition, kids will not learn how to properly lose. This implies children will grow up giving up or surrendering, rather than losing. However, trying these new things wouldn’t be as effective, as bench players would be playing at this point of the game and wouldn’t have the same effect as the players who- started.

The mercy rule is used across a variety of sports and at different levels of athleticism. Although some might argue otherwise, the mercy rule is beneficial to the moral of players and to the enjoyment of fans. Ultimately, the mercy rule should be implemented into all sports to prevent traumatizing experiences and save athletes from a humiliating loss.

By Argenis Jimenez

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1 Comment

One Response to “Mercy rule in sports”

  1. Ryan D on September 26th, 2018 1:45 pm

    I believe people should lose the proper way and there shouldn’t be a Mercy Rule. ;}

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