Parents and their 10-year-olds took matters into their own hands when a Canadian youth basketball tournament banned their team from participating in the championship game over a rule that requires all participants to receive equal playing time, according to Ontario's Hamilton Spectator (h/t Deadspin).
The Windsor Warriors remained undefeated entering the tournament final, but the losing coach of their semifinal contest reportedly complained that all Warriors did not play equally. Basketball Ontario allegedly emailed coaches of the newly instated rule back in December, but both the Warriors coach and tournament director John Rocchi claimed to have not received the email, per TheSpec.com.
Regardless, Rocchi eliminated the Warriors from contention, reportedly citing guidelines created by Canadian Sport for Life, an organization that promotes Long-Term Athlete Development. "You're getting five games, a T-shirt and a medal," Rocchi told The Spectator. "Who cares what color the medal is?"
Prior to the final, Warriors parents and players marched around center court carrying signs made of pizza boxes that read "it's not fair" and "unfair play" as they chanted the same phrases. Videos of the protest have been posted on TheSpec.com and YouTube. Tournament officials then canceled the final. Parents of the two teams that were supposed to play for the title were reportedly visibly upset as they left.
"It is about the children," Shantelle Browning-Morgan, a mother of one of the Windsor players, told the paper. "They are our next generation. ... Absolutely, it's unfair (to the other teams), but you have to stand up for something when you know it's right. You have to be inconvenient."
Instead, nobody won -- not the Warriors, their parents, the losing coach or the other two teams -- except maybe Canadian Sport for Life, which once advocated for the removal of scoreboards from youth sports.
- Sports & Recreation