Religious gesture leads to team’s disqualification

By | May 3, 2013

After completing a winning relay and looking forward to competing in state championships, a Texas high school track team has been disqualified for a benign gesture by one of the participants.
When runner Derrick Hayes pointed toward the sky after completing the team’s fastest race of the year, the school district decided to ban the team from further competition for a purported rule violation.

Robert O’Connor, the district’s superintendent, explained rules dictate no participant can engage in celebratory acts, including raised hands.

Hayes’ father said his son was just acknowledging God’s role in the successful run.

He is among a number of other individuals who are actively disputing the ruling, though there is no indication state officials will overturn the decision.

“You cross a finish line and you’ve accomplished a goal and within seconds it’s gone,” said the elder Hayes, wondering “what does that tell them about the rest of their lives? You’re going to do what’s right, work extra hard, and have it ripped away from you?”

Though O’Connor doesn’t see Hayes’ display as “technically a terrible scenario,” he said “the action did violate the context of the rule.”

Many oppose the disqualification on religious freedom grounds, though I contend this incident also highlights another unfortunate trend in today’s society.

Removing any sign of celebration from a victory sends precisely the wrong message to the next generation – though from a leftist standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

While good sportsmanship should always be expected, there should be a reward for hard work and these students deserve a bit of self-congratulation. Instead, the progressive agenda calls for all participants to be treated equally, despite effort or achievement.

As we’ve seen in countless other aspects of life, this practice only serves to disincentivize success, lowering the overall quality of life across the board.

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