Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jackie Robinson West: Lost U.S. Title but Impact Remains

Chicago's first "all African-American" inner-city team to win a national championship must now have to vacate their title.

The Little League International officials announced on Wednesday that the Jackie Robinson West Little League team violated residency rules. According to theTribune, a suburban youth baseball official first raised concerns in August about the national champions stating that some of the players "apparently lived within the boundaries of other Little Leagues, making them ineligible to play with Jackie Robinson West."

The report continued saying that Little League officials initially reviewed the dispute and found "no residency violations," but after "new information" reached their hands, officials met on Tuesday and decided that the team did in fact use a "falsified boundary map" to include players who lived outside the team's borders.
Here's what I think:

A rule violation is a rule violation and I understand how the Little League organization must keep their integrity in the end. But going forward, the lesson here is that the organization needs to be that much more keen to the legalities and boundaries of the teams that play in their league.

Granted this was an intricate case in that it dealt with inner-city boundaries. I went to a public elementary school that was part of a municipal district. That meant a clearly defined territory comprised the population of students who are able to attend the school. I knew other students who had to use their cousin's address or their aunt's address because "home" was non-existent. I'm not supporting falsification of records because that is the complete opposite of integrity.

Case and point: Parents of JRW player Jahiem Benton. During the season, they both lost their jobs and had to move in with relatives. That didn't deter Jahiem's perseverance: he never missed a practice or a game, according to Jahiem's father.

It will be tough for the players' parents to have to break down the rule violations and what it all means. Those boys gave 100 percent until the end and even if that title is no longer theirs, the impact they placed in the minds of young athletes across the city can't be stripped away.
It was a great time to be a sports fan in Chicago and I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the city buzzing for the boys.
My video below from August showcases just that. ‪#‎JackieRobinsonWest‬

No comments:

Post a Comment