By Ken Reed
Sometimes kids can make better decisions than adults.
A youth (fifth grade) basketball team in a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) league in Clark, New Jersey decided to forfeit the rest of its season rather than boot the team’s two female players off the team.
The CYO league recently told St. John’s school that the team wasn’t supposed to be coed, and as such, the girls wouldn’t be allowed to stay on the team.
St. John’s athletic director Jack Cajuste allowed the girls to be on the team this season. There weren’t enough girls at St. Johns to form a girls-only team. In fact, the team’s roster has been coed for the past four years without objections.
There is some confusion regarding CYO league rules as the rules in St. John’s CYO division — JV Black — don’t mention whether teams can or cannot be coed. However, rules in other CYO divisions do state that coed teams aren’t allowed.
Faced with making a decision, the St. John’s squad unanimously voted to not take the court without their female teammates to play a game against Scotch Plains’ St. Bartholomew the Apostle.
When St. John’s coach Rob Martel told the team the situation and asked them what they wanted to do, chants of “Unity!” broke out as the team chose to end its season. Instead of playing St. Bartholomew the Apostle, the team played an instrasquad game, girls included.
“Pride. Just pure pride,” said parent Denise Laskody when asked what she thought of the vote.
“These kids are doing the right thing. We don’t have to tell them what to do. They just know. It’s amazing.”
Yes, sometimes kids just know.
Take note adults.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.