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A group of boys took up for some of their teammates, and instead of buckling to pressure, decided they would forfeit the rest of thier season.

Talk about building character.

The boys, members of a the St. John’s 5th-grade team in New Jersey, took the action after the Archdiocese told the team two girls who have played all season wouldn’t be allowed to play the final two games of the season, according to a reports in the NJ.com. The report quoted parents saying the team’s record would also be wiped clean since the girls were illegal players.

NJ.com provided this sequence of events:

At last Friday’s game, referees told the team that, under orders from the Archdiocese, they couldn’t officiate the game if the girls participated. The team, via a unanimous vote, decided it wouldn’t play. Clearly, the Archdiocese wasn’t happy because it tried to order reporters out the gym, probably because the team and crowd started chanting “UNITY” to protest a clearly unjust ruling.

NJ.com went on to note that there is no provision in the league bylaws that prohibit co-ed teams, though there are clear boys and girls divisions.

Really, the whole thing seems amazingly stupid and short-sited. Sport, especially at this age, is supposed to be about camaraderie and character building — and this team, as well as parents on both sides, got the character part right.

Hopefully, it’s something some cloistered adults can learn from.

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