What a Way to Play

The basketball coach at Grinnell College empties the bench in every game

| January 6, 2005

It sounds like a philosophy filched from the kiddie leagues, where winning and losing are supposed to rank below how you play the game. But head basketball coach David Arseneault's approach is racking up wins too. By playing up to 17 players a game and running a steady stream of three-point attempts, he's led Grinnell to three of the last nine Division III Midwest Conference titles. And last season the Pioneers broke records with an average of 126.2 points per game. The team's performance also has drawn the attention of ESPN2, which is airing Grinnell's Feb. 3 game against Wisconsin's Beloit College live.

Grinnell's success proves the merit of making sports an inclusive learning experience, according to Washington Post kids sports columnist Fred Bowen. Fans of the Big Ten may scoff, but why not implement the 'play everyone' rule at middle schools and high schools, Bowen asks. It may help bring competitive parents and kids back to the fun of sports. And it could help them win too.

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