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CHSAA Drops the Ball

TimesLedger Newspapers

Sometimes common sense is not common enough. In January, the coaches of the Christ the King and Bishop Ford girls’ basketball teams decided not to play in games against Nazareth High School in the days following the death of Nazareth Coach Apache Paschall.

He died Jan. 3of cardiac arrest after a four-month battle with skin cancer. The Bishop Ford game was scheduled for Jan. 5 and the Christ the King game for Jan. 7.

It must have seemed like the right thing to do. The coaches at Christ the King thought Paschall’s funeral would take place on the same day as the game and assumed the coaches and players would want to attend. To make the Lady Kingsmen choose between attending their coach’s funeral or forfeiting the game would have been heartless.

Or so they thought.

This is one of those cases where no good deed goes unpunished. The CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Eligibility and Infractions Committee recommended Christ the King and Bishop Ford forfeit the unplayed games against Nazareth.

There were those who argued the January games should have been played because that is what Paschall would have wanted. And grief counselors at the school said it would even be good therapy for the girls to get back on the court.

On the other hand, if the Lady Kingsmen had lost two days after losing a beloved coach, it might have been devastating. Did the counselors think of that?

The principals committee decided two weeks ago not to abide by the Eligibility and Infractions Committee suggestion and the unplayed games were rescheduled.

This is about more than basketball. The coaches at Christ the King and Bishop Ford were saying that some things are more important than sports. A fellow coach had died and they were giving the coaches and players at Nazareth time to grieve. Basketball games can always be rescheduled.

It boggles the mind that some players and coaches saw this decision as a sign of disrespect. It is even more mind-boggling that the CHSAA committee wanted to force Christ the King and Bishop to forfeit the games.

It was a “rules is rules” decision that was unworthy of an association whose first priority should be teaching values to young athletes.

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