When high school schedules are set up, most big football games are slated for Friday nights, for good reason. In addition to the pervasive notion that fall Friday nights belong to high school football, Friday also provides the easiest day for schools to gather their players in one place with ease, all without affecting their ability to spend time on their studies before the next school day. In fact, there's little downside, if any, to setting up a game on most Friday nights.
However, this Friday night is an exception because of one of the most holy holidays on the Jewish calendar. And now, because one Catholic school with a sizable Jewish population overlooked the fact that Yom Kippur falls on a Friday in 2011 it is facing a key matchup without a handful of important players.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade College Prep scheduled its annual meeting against Catholic rival Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame Prep for Friday, Sep. 30. By the time the parents of a Jewish player finally notified Chaminade coach Ed Croson that the game fell on a high holiday it was too late to re-schedule the game, so Croson decided his team would have to play without their Jewish teammates who decide to witness the holiday as they would traditionally.
If there were only one player, that wouldn't be such an issue. The problem is that Chaminade has a sizable core of Jewish students among its ranks, with some 100 members of the student body declaring themselves to be Jewish. As one might predict, more than one of those 100 competes for the school's football team, meaning that the Eagles will have to make due with short numbers.
Most other Southern California games involving any number of Jewish players have reportedly been moved to Thursday, greatly altering the traditional high school football weekend lineup.
Of course, that means there will be even more attention on Chaminade as the Eagles prepare for a traditional rivalry grudge match on their new blue turf field. If only all their players could compete on it on Friday, Croson and his staff would probably feel a heck of a lot more comfortable with the additional attention.