McNaul-gate sparks controversy among faculty, students

Reports are in on McNaul’s illegal roster at the 2015 wiffle ball game


Joe Padula

The controversy still rages over the outcome of last year’s annual 9th grade wiffle ball game.


There’s a saying in sports that cheaters never win.  And in most cases this is true, but this time was the exception.

The game was wiffle ball and the teams were Mr. Goodman and Mr. McNaul’s first period classes in ninth grade science and history.  The stage was set and the trash was talked. We were two teams driven by animosity that met in the school yard to settle a score on the last day of school in June, 2015.

As Goodman’s first period class we had a title to defend.  Last year’s honors class had won the annual wiffle ball game and the year before had too.  We were determined to keep the tradition alive, but we never saw this coming.

What exactly is cheating? I consider what I did finding a loophole.

— Mr. McNaul

It was hot and sunny.  But we didn’t mind for it was a reminder that summer was just around the corner.  We all wore red, white and blue and wanted to end the school year with a bang.  But as we walked onto the field and eyed up our competition our hearts fell and the sun didn’t seem so bright anymore, because among McNaul’s class were SOPHOMORES.  Six of them in total.  Each bigger and badder than the next.  Four of the six played baseball, giving them an even bigger advantage.  There were even reports of PED abuse, something we’ll never be able to prove to this day.

Mr. McNaul cared little that he was pushing the spirit of the game and bordering on flat-out cheating.

“What exactly is cheating?” he said in a recent interview.  “I consider what I did finding a loophole. People who find loopholes statistically are more successful than those who don’t.”

But there was still a game to play.

The first few innings were a blur.  The sophomores hit home run after home run as we ran around dropping fly balls like no tomorrow.  We couldn’t catch, we couldn’t throw, we couldn’t hit.  We were helpless as the sophomores overran us.  We watched as they scored and caught every ball we managed to hit.  We watched as they crushed our hopes and dreams.  And McNaul was their leader; he strut onto the mound, throwing cheap balls and allowing his team to bat out of order so only the best hitters hit first.  We managed to score a few measly runs here and there. The half wasn’t a complete failure, but then the ball rang, signaling the end of the first half and we walked inside with what little pride we had left.

Mr. Goodman went as far as to call Mr. McNaul insecure for cheating to stack his roster.

“I think cheating is a manifestation of feeling insecure.  Cheating is a band aid causing a person to temporarily feel good about themselves,” said Mr. Goodman.  “Unfortunately it is an illusion.  The cheater in the long run realizes what they did was wrong further enhancing the feeling of insecurity.  Most cheaters will then try to defend their actions instead of owning up to them.  In this way, they are fooling themselves and others into believing what they did was okay.”

Most cheaters will then try to defend their actions instead of owning up to them.

— Mr. Goodman

Once inside, we fell back into the monotone patterns we always had and walked to Mr. McNaul’s room and saw that smug look on his face.  Last year, he had been on fire during the game’s first half, some even say he was all-star material.  But when the second half came all that potential faded, as McNaul choked and lost the game for his team.  But that was last year, and now we sat in front of him as he smiled at us.  We knew we couldn’t count on him to choke for a second year in a row. He was too comfortable.  We would just have to somehow find a way to win.  The bell rang again, and we walked back outside.  This time there were no smiles, this time we knew what we had to do.

The score was 6-3 when we went back out to begin the second half. The lead wasn’t much, but at the time felt impossible to overcome.  Again McNaul continued his shenanigans, but we would be timid freshmen no longer. It was time to make a stand. Although we had barely gotten through our lineup twice we had managed to score two more runs and were trailing by one. Unlike the other class, we batted in order and gave everyone a chance to do so.  But then the inevitable happened, Sawyer Kline, a sophomore baseball player, hit a homerun with two people on base.  The score was now 10-6 them, and time was running out.  We would not accept defeat, though, and battled to the very end.  But we never scored another run.

The bell rang, second period was over, and we had lost.  As if losing weren’t enough we had to go back to Mr. McNaul’s classroom and watch as he received the trophy that was rightfully ours.  The trophy that had been won by our class for three years in a row.  And the streak died with us.

Mr. McNaul felt there was no shame in using players outside the parameters of the game to win.

“Everything I do is right.  My mother told me when I was younger that I was such an angel and could never do anything wrong,” he said.  “Those words have guided me through tough times and every decision that I’ve made during these times was right.”

Mr. Goodman saw it a little differently.

“Growing up my mother taught me the difference between right and wrong,” Mr. Goodman said.  “Honesty is a huge component that we lived by.  I feel bad that McNaul thinks he is always right.”

Some advice for Mr. Goodman’s first period class this year: for starters, don’t take Mr. McNaul lightly.  He will do everything in his power to win.  Next, set out basic rules too, don’t give him any loopholes to which he can once again defy them and claim he’s done no wrong.  Again, stay true to who you are, don’t let the competition become you.  And lastly, stick together.  In the end we only have each other, don’t let him tear you guys apart.

Don’t take Mr. McNaul lightly. He will do everything in his power to win.

Mr. Goodman said he was going to appeal to higher authority to ensure safeguards were in place for the next wiffle ball game to prevent Mr. McNaul from loading his lineup with illegal players.

“In fairness to the students, I am appealing commissioner Schreier to establish a set of guidelines that must be followed for the next wiffle ball game,” Mr. Goodman said.

It’s true that cheaters never win, but McNaul, with his crafty and sneaky ways, proved to be the exception.  Yes he won the wiffle ball game of the century.  But in the end, do cheaters really win?  The end score was 10-6, but even though we had lost the game we had lit a fire that will rage into future generations of freshmen.