Let Them Play!

Posted on February 29, 2012

By now most of you have heard -I hope- that the Robert M. Beren Academy High School Varsity Basketball team advanced for the first time to the State Championships. However, since the school is Orthodox and the semi-final and championship games are scheduled for this weekend on Shabbat the school cannot play and will be forced to forfeit. This story has been picked up by outlets throughout the country including the NY Times, ABC, Fox, ESPN and Forbes.

This is ridiculous! TAPPS who is in charge of the tournament has rescheduled games in the past because of religious reasons but have said they cannot do so now because doing so will interfere with other tournament games and that the gym is not available at other times. Really?! We all know that TAPPS can easily make the changes if they wanted. Changes have been made in other sports. This past weekend the Daytona 500 took place on Monday instead of Sunday because of rain and this was not the first and will not be the last change of this kind for a “major” sporting event. The opposing team has offered to play earlier to accommodate Beren but so far the game time has not been changed.

I called TAPPS today to tell them that I thought they should reconsider their decision and I encourage you to call them as well because this is not just.

The school, coach and players are to be commended for how they are handing this situation. It is clear that they have done a great deal for teaching people throughout the country and world about the significance and importance of Shabbat. I am not sure of how this will play out but know that the lessons learned will last far beyond the tournament and this story will be used as an example for many years.

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