The mercy rule detracts from learning the value of losing. It should never exist in professional sports, and certainly not in kids’ sports. The demoralizing feeling that you get after going down by a tremendous amount should be used as a lesson to develop your abilities instead of allowing a mercy rule to cut your misery short. The mercy rule is an occurence in sports when one team is winning by such a large margin that the game ends prematurely.
Back in elementary and middle school, everyone used to be a winner, right? Well, the elimination of a mercy rule would allow for people to grow up quicker and demonstrate the immense value of losing. If you always won, what would you gain? Playing would become monotonous — there would be no drive, no motivation, and no desire to improve yourself. Everyone has obstacles to overcome in life, and the same is true in athletics. Whether it’s ability, access to equipment, or commitment to the sport, a constant desire for improvement is what makes you better.
The drive or motivation to improve is why a mercy rule can be detrimental to a player’s growth. Nothing is more hurtful than losing by a heart-wrenching and monstrous margin. Nothing will bring a fire to your heart like losing 15–0 in a soccer match or 150–80 in basketball. For some, this sort of loss may destroy their desire to play, but for those who can learn from it, they will respond with more competitiveness and a never-ending desire to improve their performance. Players who face massive defeats can use that pain and channel it into their performances as they continue to improve and grow.
In the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the United States defeated Thailand 13–0 in a group stage match. On social media, many called for a mercy rule or for the U.S. to lighten up on their attack, but in reality, that would be a blatant demonstration of disrespect. The Thai team deserved to be in the World Cup and, as a professional team, would always want their competitors to play to their best of their ability. As a professional team, you want to compete, and you never want someone to “go easy” on you. If that means you lose 13–0, so be it, but you can leave knowing that you put in 100% of your effort and your dignity is still intact.
In Little League Baseball there is a mercy rule implemented after a team is up by 15 runs in three innings or 10 runs after four innings. In NCAA Football, both teams can agree to shorten the clock. There are a few other versions of a mercy rule implemented in amateur and professional sports, but in most of the top-tier levels of competition, the mercy rule does not exist, and for good reason. The mercy rule is a cop out and disrespects the opposition, who could take the lessons of losing and apply it to future endeavors.