A New Jersey youth basketball team has forfeited their season after being told their two female teammates were playing ‘illegally’.
In a wonderful show of togetherness, the 5th-graders decided unanimously that if some of their squad were unable to play, then nobody would play.
St. John’s, who are based in Clark, Union County, play in the Catholic Youth Organization league. Due to not having enough female players at the age group, they’ve run a coed team for the last four years.
That was until the league stepped in and told the team they should never have included the girls, who wouldn’t now be allowed to finish the season.
The St. John’s squad took their vote before a scheduled game against Scotch Plains’ St. Bartholomew the Apostle, after the appointed officials said they had been told not to work if the girls played.
All voted to stand with their female teammates and forfeit the season. Not one voted to continue playing.
Denise Laskody, a parent of one of the St. John’s team players, summed things when asked what she thought of the vote.
“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,” she said.
The coach, Rob Martel, added, “One parent told me it’s my decision, but I said, ‘No way. I’m not making this decision for 11 10-year-olds.’”
After voting to forfeit together rather than play on divided, the team broke out into chants of “Unity!”, just in case the league administration needed any extra confirmation of their decision.