💯 Go Ask Daddy About Runaway Scores, Computer Jargon and Cautionary Tales

photo credit: bobsfever via photopin cc
photo credit: bobsfever via photopin cc

There’s an art to the blowout.

Not of the tire or underwear variety. I’m talking about sports. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes times when you’re the bug. When the score gets away from you and you lose track of how many points have piled up on you.

Or that you’ve racked up against an overmatched foe.

There’s often no mercy. And I don’t mind that.

I don’t want a coach calling off the dogs if his squad is rolling. Just bring it.

Make us stop you. And if you feel compelled to use mercy, don’t announce it. Love it when a coach barks out, “no more shots! Just pass!” which translates to, “let’s make them look like trapped, wounded lemurs until the whistle!”

When we’re behind, we:

  • Don’t mention the score.
  • Concentrate on effort, little goals.
  • Lose with grace. This means fighting hard during the game, then slapping hands with them afterward.

When we’re way ahead, we:

  • Don’t mention the score.
  • Cap each player’s scoring at three. A hat trick is special. If a kid scores more, there’s something wrong in the game. Or, wrong with her coach.
  • Win with grace. This means taking extra players off the field. And not making a huge  deal of it.

Speaking of Grace … she didn’t ask the first one this week, for once.

This was Elise’s.

1. Is there a mercy rule in football?

photo credit: JamieL.WilliamsPhoto via photopin cc
photo credit: JamieL.WilliamsPhoto via photopin cc

Not past high school, and it depends on your conference. Or what the coaches agree on when it gets ugly.

It’s a North American phenomenon, the mercy rule. It’s usually put into play in sports with no clock. An inning could go on forever. My high school baseball team forfeited a game once. The right fielder made two errors in one 30-minute inning.

I can’t … remember his name.


The mercy rule is also called the slaughter rule or skunk rule. Because getting slaughtered on the playing field kind of sucks, doesn’t it?

2. Do you have contests for the new T-shirt designs at work?


Yes, we do.

And we’ve had some sweet designs.

At Red Ventures, if you don’t have a T-shirt for what you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong. Every team has a T-shirt.

Hell, they have more than one. They have more T-shirt combinations than Oregon football has uniforms. We’re talking the soft, tagless shirts. We writers will have our own shirts soon.

The shirts will feature Billy Shakespeare and the word “Words.” (I wish it just said “word.” That’d be dope).

They even give prizes for the winning designer, like a hundred bucks to spend in the café.

I dream about that.

3. What does PHP mean at the end of a URL?

We done somethin' wrong.
We done somethin’ wrong.

PHP is a server-side scripting language in web development.

When you open a URL with PHP at the end, it means you’ve requested a PHP type file in the PHP language. It’s a hypertext preprocessor. It’s found on sites with dynamic content. The wiki Grace and I looked up last night to attempt to make rock candy, for instance. It’s our first official WikiFail together, kid.

Doing the rock-candy wiki right was tough. About as tough as understanding what the hell PHP is.

I’m still lost at both.

4. Has any game ever gone overnight?

photo credit: churl via photopin cc
photo credit: churl via photopin cc

The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings went 33 innings in 1981. They played 32 innings in two days, and resumed four days later. Pawtucket won, 3-2. It took only 11 hours, 25 minutes.

I covered a minor-league baseball game years ago that went well past 3 a.m. Well, I was there for the last few innings, anyway. The Knights played a rain-delayed, extra-inning doubleheader that day. And the next morning. When my copy-desk shift ended at 2:30 a.m., they were still going strong. So I stopped by.

There were 40 people left in the stands. A loudmouth in a Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt gave the players the business. Security asked him to curb his heckling because the players could hear every word.

The team put free bagels and peanut butter out in the concourse for the diehards left – for breakfast.

A troop of Cub Scouts camped was there to camp in the outfield after the game. By midnight, they gave up and tossed sleeping bags in the Home Run Café instead. And I walked into the manager’s office for post-game quotes like it was nothin’.

He thought his night was over.

5. Who was that kid who came in and took over the 20 car for a while?

photo credit: jerbec via photopin cc
photo credit: jerbec via photopin cc

No fewer than 86 drivers have piloted the No. 20 car in NASCAR. Men named Buck Hall, George Mantooth and Bunkie Blackburn. Tony Stewart raced in the No. 20, and won $50 million in 356 races.

The guy you’re thinking of is Joey Logano (pictured right). He became the youngest winner in NASCAR’s top stockcar division. He won in 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He was 19 years, 35 days old. He won five races in 2007 in the Grand National division when he was just 16.

Rob Moroso also drove the No. 20 car, in a career ended way too soon.

Moroso had turned 22 just four days before a fatal auto accident on Sept. 30, 1990. I was a senior in high school. My mom had just gotten his autograph at a mall meet-and-greet she just stumbled on. “He looks like a baby,” she said of him.

He’d just finished a race at North Wilkesboro when he crashed.

Reports say he was driving 75 mph in a 55-mph zone. A woman in the car his hit head-on also died. I’ve driven on those winding roads home from North Wilkesboro, a hilly, beautiful ride. But one you can’t speed around on.

The autopsy report stated Moroso’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal level.

Judges could have revoked his license for four speeding tickets. But reduced charges let him keep it. In this case, mercy wasn’t the best option. Especially for the mother of two who died in the wreck.

Some lessons come the hard way, even if it means losing your license.

It just might save a life.

crash quote


  1. All I have to say is you are one hell
    Of a coach and if Kevin didn’t coach the girls here, I would certainly take you as their coach anyday of the week on the above principles alone 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Janine – soccer coaching has to do with much more than just soccer, and the coaches who realize that are better able to teach what they need to teach!

      1. Truly agreed Eli and you are definitely one of the greats 😉

  2. ProteanMom says:

    Great stuff. Bug on a windshield… Reminds me of a great joke. Ready?

    What’s the last thing to go through a bug’s mind as it hits a windshield?

    Its backside. 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ve heard that one with a different … term used for backside!

      1. ProteanMom says:

        Yeah… Keeping it rated G. 😀

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I should do that sometime.

  3. Cassandra says:

    My son plays hockey (he’s 11) and at least when his team gets down more than 6 points they go into “runtime”. No more clock stoppages for almost any reason (injury is an exception). I have found that this rule is particularly merciful on the parents who have to watch. I think every sport should have runtime.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I like runtime. Sometimes the table isn’t level, you know? I like in soccer the idea of taking players off the field of the team that leads. It lets the other team have a shot in the flow of the game, and challenges the stronger team.

  4. Kim says:

    #3 pretty much went over my head – php….my eyes sort of glaze. I know how to type and use the internet but otherwise my laptop is just a glorified word processor!!!
    Horrible about that kid (racer) who didn’t lose his license when he should have and then ended up killing someone with reckless driving.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It definitely did mine, Kim. I tried to make it sound like I knew what I was talking about. Luckily, the WikiFail Grace and I shared was a convenient out.

      I remember people being angry that so much was made of a young racer’s life being cut short, but no one seemed to care about the young mom who died that day, too.

      It’s all sad.

  5. Tamara says:

    Until they provide the WRITERS T-Shirts, you’ll just wear the Coach Daddy one, right?

    Love the overnight game story! And not just because of the bagles!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have no choice, Tamara! The overnight game was a blast. They should do that more often. On purpose.

  6. tamaralikecamera says:

    Do you have contests for Des’ t-shirts? You should.
    I’m still lost about php too.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Des would win the T-shirt contests. I need to get one for him … what size is he?

      1. tamaralikecamera says:

        2T! 3T for this summer.

  7. Rorybore says:

    I’ve seen some blowouts on the hockey ice …. gracious they basically just had to stop shooting on net because the goalie couldn’t stop anything. whereas the other goalie was a Brick Wall nothing got past. Those are not really good games.
    I had a high school friend who died in a train crash. Meaning he was playing that “Beat the train” game…. and lost. Such a tragic… and stupid thing. It definitely changes your life perspective fast.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Grace and I watched the local hockey team beat one from Texas 5-2 recently, a day after losing 4-1 to the same team. They asserted themselves and even beat them up physically. In youth sports, this isn’t as easy.

      If you’re overmatched, or run into a buzzsaw of a goalkeeper, it’s just not your day.

      Those classmates we lost, they stick with you, don’t they? Especially if it’s something like that. I’ve tried to stress to my girls that life is tricky enough, we don’t need to tempt fate extra times.

      1. Rorybore says:

        I was thinking of the recent World Junior Hockey where our Juniors rang up scores of 6-0 and 8-0. Not very Canadian of us.
        My kids lost a young student in their school last year — he had been in a wheelchair for a few year but I can’t remember what illness he had. but the whole school was affected by the loss. They planted a garden in front of the school and put a plaque there with his name. really sweet.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think when kids are faced with such things early in life, they react naturally – fear, concern, and then a desire to somehow keep them with them.

        I can imagine how the garden and plaque made the boy’s family feel, too. Well done.

  8. Rosey says:

    I agree on the mercy thing. My husband drank and drove in college. He got pulled over by security in the campus lot, he was 18. He got some very large amount of tickets to pay, numerous ticket write-ups all at the same time. He’s never once gotten behind the wheel again with alcohol in his system (I’m always his Designated Driver if we’re going out). He learned….because they didn’t show him mercy. And hurrah for it. 🙂 I’m sorry to hear about the young driver and the mom of two who weren’t so lucky. 😦

    The game that went on so long…oy! How fun/ny that the put out breakfast bagels. Very cool. 🙂

    Here to wish you a Happy New Year!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      A boy remembers something like that, right? It’s like that with parenting, too. I think our merciful side wants to cut our kids slack; we can’t lose sight that the lesson, although sometimes harsh, is a better gift to give.

      It takes a good man to take a good lesson, too. Here’s to your husband.

      I thought the bagels were a nice touch. I have a rule that I never ever want to leave a game before it’s over. If I had tickets to that one … the longer it went, the more sure I’d be that I couldn’t possibly leave before it finished!

  9. Gina says:

    That’s some dedication – sticking out all night for a minor league ball game. The most dedication I endured was staying up all night to watch the Yankees-Red Sox world series game that went past midnight. And no one even bothered to reward me with bagels.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      At some point, Gina, you just can’t walk away. I remember that Sox-yankees game, too. Next bagel’s on me.

  10. ksbeth says:

    i love the overnighter and the quote so much.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      that overnighter was a once-in-a-lifetime … i was glad to be there. the quote? i think many of us learn a lesson about an early loss of life, don’t we? it stays with us forever.

  11. jakesprinter says:

    Great post Eli you are total Game warrior my friend …I love your Lego set 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks brother – glad to have found your space on the web, too. Legos rock, righ?

  12. I’ve been present at a few high school football blowouts. All I can say, as a non-sports-fan-band-kid, is thank GOD for the mercy rule. Got us to Pizza Hut faster. 😀
    So I ran that PHP thing by my Husband the computer dude and he not only said what you said, but waxed prosaic about some other stuff. As always, my eyes glazed over and I pretended to understand. Then I looked some stuff up on the Internet so it would be in my language, not his, and it turns out he knew what the hell he was talking about. He really does know about this stuff! Ha.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d rather win by three goals than 10, you know? Anything to get us to Pizza Hut faster, yes!

      Oh, he probably knew way more than I do about PHP, which is why I took the diversion of our failed Wiki rock candy adventure. As a dad, I know when to dazzle.

      And I know when to baffle.

  13. Elle Sees says:

    having never played sports, all of this is a foreign language to me! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Some of the Go Ask Daddys get a little sports heavy – but on Friday, you’ll get one that asks the age-old question: Is ‘data’ pronounced DAY-tuh or DA-tuh?

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