If you can’t play the game right, you won’t play at all. This is a lesson we convey to kids at Musial Moments assemblies. It’s been proven true time and again in real-life as well. The Alton Redbirds Tip-Off Classic is a season-opening basketball tournament held Thanksgiving week and features high school basketball teams from all over the St. Louis metro area.
This year’s tourney was going well until Friday’s matchup between host Alton and nearby Riverview Gardens. In the waning moments of the third quarter, this happened:
Alton and Riverview ruined the tournament for everyone. The behavior shown by several athletes and adults forced officials to stop the game, make Alton and Riverview each forfeit their next tournament game and cancel the rest of the tournament altogether. So the teams that had nothing to do with the brawl had their tournament cut short. Poor decisions by a relative few wrecked everything for everyone.
This cannot be overstated: A few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch. Who knows why the brawl started? Who cares? Whatever the reason, it isn’t good enough to justify the regional embarrassment, injury potential and the damage to each school’s reputation. There are literally no winners when people can’t respect one another. Play right or don’t play at all.