Bullying is not a term to be used lightly

It was just like any other day at phys ed class – at first.

We were walking out to our assigned spots on the gym floor, preparing to stretch, when suddenly, someone goes flying through the air, falls to the ground and slides into the brick wall.

A smirk and a few high fives with his buddies quickly told the story. One kid, who wasn’t really all that tough but wanted some attention, flung one of the smallest, smartest (a geek in this kid’s eyes), most harmless and quiet individuals you’d ever seen into the wall – just for fun.

A few words were then exchanged between me and the wanna-be tough guy before he returned to his spot on the floor and kept his mouth shut.

The thin-as-a-rail kid who’s probably the guy’s orthopedic surgeon now was fine, but the incident was a classic instance of bullying.

Nothing irritates me more than a bully. It’s a pathetic attempt to make yourself feel better by ridiculing those less fortunate or weaker. It has become an epidemic of sorts in America, and parents, teachers, bus drivers and everyone involved in school systems are on the lookout for such behavior, and they should be.

But in some occasions, people have to understand the circumstances.

A parent of a high school football player in Texas filed a formal complaint of bullying earlier this week against a coach from the other team because of a ridiculously lopsided score – Aledo High School beat Western Hills, 91-0. According to the report, the parent claimed “everyone in the football stadium” was privy to the alleged bullying.

He added: “Picking up my son from the fieldhouse after the game and taking him home was tough. I did not know what to say to my son on the ride home to explain the behavior of the aledo (sic) coaches for not easing up when the game was in hand.”

He said he blamed the coach and not the players, but Aledo coach Tim Buchanan told reporters he did let up. He benched his kids after the first half, instituted a continuous clock and didn’t pass the ball in the final two quarters, according to reports.

Should the coach be chastised for questionable ethics? Probably. There are other ways to keep your team from running up the score, but calling him a bully is a very big stretch in this case.

Most people who play sports endure a crushing defeat at some point, whether it’s a last-second loss or a 91-0 shellacking. Losing is part of what makes sports a learning tool for life. Responding to adversity in a positive manner is how you move on from a loss. That’s when your dedication and character as a player are tested. Are you going to quit or give up and just keep allowing teams to get the best of you, or are you going to work harder to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again?

It’s the same way when you get a job later in life. If you make a mistake, you learn from it and don’t make it again. That’s how you improve – in life and in sports.

A Texas state law required that the Aledo principal investigate the complaint and issue a report, and a district investigation found the allegations to be meritless.

It was the right call. Bullying is a widespread problem that absolutely must be dealt with on all occasions, but sometimes people need to use common sense before labeling a person a bully.