Thursday, March 3, 2011

Personal Life in the way of Sports Life

Seven year old Amalya Knapp an accomplished young gymnast from New Jersey missed day one of the state competition this past weekend. Why? Because of her religious obligation to the sabbath. She is an Orthodox Jew and her family observes Saturday as the Sabbath.

Sophomore BYU star Brandon Davies was suspended from the highly talented NCAA basketball team. BYU has a strict honor code that prohibits alcohol use and premarital sex, among other things. BYU lost to New Mexico in the game following Davies' suspension.

So here we have two examples in the past week of how a personal life can interfere with a sports program. I feel bad for young Amalya and for Davies but really, the rules are there, the dates are set for the tournaments and games before these young people even decide to commit. I hear that Knapp's mother is complaining that they should be able to allow Amalya to compete on Sunday instead of Saturday like all others in the competition. Why? An extracurricular gymnastics program is just that: extracurricular. The rules shouldn't be bent for one athlete because then it will cause a ripple effect on other conflicting situations. When would it stop? An athlete has church on Sunday too, so would they move the competition to Tuesday? What about everyday school responsibilities. There is no perfect day for these tournaments. The parents of Amalya Knapp did the right thing and maintaining their commitment to their faith and not attending the tournament. Yet, they should not be in the news complaining about it. It was their choice to miss the tournament.

Davies is said to be extremely remorseful for dismissing the honor code and engaging in sex with his girlfriend - yet, that won't get him back on the team, will it? No... No matter what you believe in terms of the honor code, Davies knew this when he committed to BYU. The rules are sprung on these athletes post-committment. What Davies does in his bedroom is none of my business but he attends BYU where it is their business. I don't disagree with the school trying to instill morals and values in their students either. But that's probably not what a young adult wants to think about when they are in college. Will this teach him a lesson? Probably not. He's a young star athlete and will probably be back on the team next season. Let's face it, BYU needs him.

This happens more than a few times a year I'm sure of it. What are your thoughts?

aka FirstLady
Follow me on Twitter: @ny_mari

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