I wrote a couple of blog posts a couple of years ago bemoaning the frequent blowouts in local high school sports and saying coaches should do more to avoid them. As far as I know, and as far as I can tell from looking at the local scores, my complaints were ignored.
Now, some people are criticizing the great U.S. women's soccer team for beating Thailand 13-0 Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the World Cup. But in this case, a blowout is completely justified. A blowout is fine at this level for all the reasons that a blowout is not fine at the high school level. These are elite athletes, playing at the top level of their sport. They are professionals. They are paid. No athlete at this level — not Rafael Nadal, not Serena Williams, not Lionel Messi and not Alex Morgan — takes their foot off the throttle when they're ahead, not even when they're way ahead. It's showing respect for your opponent, at this level, to keep playing hard and jumping on every chance to score, right to the end of every game. That is part of the definition of a professional athlete — they play hard and they play to win, whether the score is close or they're far ahead or far behind. Winning is the goal.
In high school, although teams play to win, and they should, the overriding goal is not to win but to have a good game, to get the benefits of tough competition. Blowouts don't achieve that.
So, it was great to see the U.S. team score lots of goals, which could help them win their group and will surely boost their confidence. Neither the team nor the coach has anything to apologize for, and I hope they score a whole lot more goals on their way to the World Cup championship.