In a world that often seems to be full of nothing but shit and vinegar, it’s good to think that future generations are growing up to be better people. That’s why it’s so great to see that a New Jersey fifth-grade basketball team is willing to stand up for equality and forfeit the rest of their season rather than be forced to exclude the girls on their team.
According to ESPN, the fifth grade basketball team at St. John’s in Clark, New Jersey, has been co-ed for the past four years. There were girls at the school who wanted to play basketball, but not enough to make up a whole girls’ basketball team, so the school’s athletic director just made the basketball team co-ed so the ones who did want to play could do so. For four years, it hasn’t been an issue. But this year it sounds like someone from another school reported the team to the Archdiocese, and now it’s a problem.
There are two girls playing this year, and when the Catholic Youth Organization of the Archdiocese of Newark found out, they said the girls had been playing “illegally.” All the games the team had played this season were wiped from the record, and the team was told that the girls would have to be kicked off the team, if the team intended to keep participating in the rest of the season.
The kids weren’t having it, though. Rather than kick their two female teammates off the squad and continue playing, the team voted unanimously to keep the girls on the team and to forfeit the rest of the season. The coaches made clear that the kids completely understood the consequences, and that they couldn’t play in the playoffs if they forfeit the season. The kids were unanimous, and at that point started chanting, “Unity!”
The parents are beaming with price. Some of them cried.
“Pride. Just pure pride,” said Denise Laskody, the mother of one of the players. “These kids are doing the right thing. We don’t have to tell them what to do. They just know. It’s amazing.”
The girls will probably not be allowed to play next year, unless they can get together enough girls to start an all-girls’ team, but for now they seem to be pretty happy knowing their friends have their backs, and that they’re just as much a part of the basketball team as the boys are.