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 Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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