Saturday, February 18, 2017

Youth Basketball Team Rebels Gloriously Against Dumb Adult Rules

A fifth grade basketball team in New Jersey votes to keep
girls on the team even though the CYO organization said they couldn't.
Hats off today to the St. John's New Jersey 5th grade basketball team, who chose unity and fairness over the silly "rules" of adults. 

There were nine boys and two girls on the St. John's CYO team.

Mucketymucks with the church found out about the girls playing on the team and laid the law down.

The team was not allowed to have girls. Ditch the girls or give up the rest of the season, the team was told, as reports.

The boys on the team would have none of it.  They said no girl team mates no playing.

An opposing team, St. Bartholomew the Apostle, had just showed up for a game against St. John's but the refs announced the a CYO director instructed the refs not to allow the team to play if the girls remained on it.

There was a bit of a discussion over whether it could be an "unofficial" game, but nobody seemed all that keen on the idea. And coaches were reluctant to force a decision on the fifth graders.

Finally, a parent named Matthew Dohn spoke up and asked the St. John's fifth grade team directly: "Is your decision to play the game without the two young ladies on the team, or do you want to stay as a team as you have all year?   Show of hands for play as a team?

All 11 members of the team raised their hands. When parents asked the question a diffeent way: Should the girls stay out of the game? No hands went up.

Parents reminded the team that if they let the girls play, the rest of the season would be forfeited. "If the girls play, this will be the end of your season. You won't play in the playoffs," said assistant coach Keisha Martel.

Martel is the mom of one of the girls in question.

"It doesn't matter," one boy replied. Soon the rest of the team joined in chanting, "Unity!" reported that many spectators cheered along and several parents began to cry.

Here's how one parent reacted, says

"Pride. Just pure pride......These kids are doing the right thing. We don't have to tell them what to do. They just know. It's amazing."

The fifth graders also appear to be more brave than the adults who made the decision to bar the girls. The kids on the team were outspoken on their position to say the least.

An anonymous complaint about the girls playing led to the decision to bar them. That came when St. John's played another school called St. Theresa's, where the family of one girl was suing the school to allow her to play on the boy's team.

The school responded by expelling the girl and her sister, though an appeals court ruled that the girls must be reinstated.

In the case of the St. John's game, the CYO organization said rules are rules and girls must play with girls, and boys must play with boys.

At least the kids understand there is sometime a need for flexibility.

Said parent Rob Martel: "They're kids and all they wanted to do was play.....This is adults that couldn't figure out how to let the kids play two more games. This isn't the WNBA or NBA. They're just trying to get better, and I think they got better today."

Well, maybe not at basketball, since the kids weren't allowed to play. But they certainly showed their growing skills at the game of life.

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