CNN’s Belief Blog reports that a Houston Orthodox day school’s basketball team is forfeiting a semifinals game because the game is scheduled for tomorrow evening, that is, Shabbos. The championship game is set for Saturday day.
Maybe I should have passed this off to Ron at Kaplan’s Korner on Jews and Sports, but I wanted to take a shot at it since my friend David S. tipped me off. (I’ll stop with the puns now.)
Slam dunk on who to blame (I guess I wasn’t quite done with the puns), right? It must be the big bad league full of rigid southern Christians, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), right? After all, it was their nine-member board who set the schedule and then unaminously rejected a proposed time change to Friday morning. They must be the bad guys, right?
And since they are the bad guys, the good guys from the Robert M. Beren Academy get to give heart-swelling quotes like this: “If we give up this opportunity for our religion it just shows how much we deeply care for it,” [said] Isaac Buchine, a player on the Beren Stars.
Time out. (OMG, I can’t stop myself.)
TAPPS posted on its website that from the late 70′s till 2009, there were no Jewish school teams and the league does not play on Sundays because they are shomer Christian Shabbat. The league statement also said that when Beren Academy met with league officials in June 2009 to discuss joining, well, they were warned:
“At that time, the Board pointed out that TAPPS schedules its team sports championship on Fridays and Saturdays, which would conflict with Beren’s observation of their Sabbath,” the statement said. “The Board pointed out that the posted schedule for the state tournament would be followed and no changes made, unless weather related or similar conditions existed.”
CNN continued: “The league also pointed out another rule in its bylaws stipulating that if a team cannot follow the playoff schedule, it is up to the school to remove itself from the playoffs.”
So now who’s to blame? The league for being unbending even though other teams might not be able to make a rescheduled Friday morning game (and shouldn’t the players be attending school that day?)? Or a day school that joined a league who’s rules they couldn’t follow?
Why would you join a league knowing you would not be able to send your kids to play if they ever made the championships? It seems to me you work these things out long before your team ever gets close to having to miss an important game. Shame on the Beren Academy for setting up their athletes for disappointment, leaving them thinking that they were being noble and giving up an opportunity that really, they never had.