Basketball Team Refuses to Play on Jewish Sabbath, Forced Out of Championship Contention

| by Alex Groberman

The Beren Academy boys basketball team is coming off its best year ever, so what possible reason could there be for the Stars not having a prominent role in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 2A state tournament this weekend?

Simple: Jewish Sabbath.

After putting together a 23-5 mark, Beren Academy looked poised to make a little noise in the looming postseason tournament games ahead. For an entire season, the school had been able to balance staying true to its faith and balling with authority – as you kind of would expect that a religious school could in this day and age. On two separate occasions throughout the year, in fact, the Stars requested to have their games moved from early Saturday to late Saturday and from late Friday to early Friday, with seemingly no problems.

This week, predictably when it mattered most, problems arose.

Even though the Stars and the powers that be behind the school made it clear that the basketball team couldn’t play in Friday’s 9:00 p.m. championship tournament game because of Jewish Sabbath, TAPPS authorities (reluctantly?) refused to accommodate the school with an adjusted schedule. Instead, they simply gave Beren’s slot away, ensuring a Dallas Covenant versus Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills showdown instead.

Beren beat the latter squad in a regional contest 69-42 a week ago.

What’s done in regards to this specific scheduling conflict is done. The question on everyone’s mind now is: why couldn’t the Stars have been accommodated?

According to a statement from the TAPPS athletic director to the Houston Chronicle, the venue for the tournament was prearranged ahead of time and all of the teams participating were warned that games would take place on Friday and Saturday. Therefore, apparently there were no compromises to be made in that regard.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that while that very well might be true – there are multiple cases on record of games being moved to accommodate religiously sensitive situations such as this one.

A year ago, the Arlington Burton Adventist Academy was successfully able to change the schedule and venue for its tournament games after outings were found to conflict with a slightly different brand of Sabbath. The school paid out of pocket to reserve the new venues used, however, and it remains unknown whether or not Beren was willing to make the same sacrifice.

That case aside; this year, as previously mentioned, Beren was able to successfully reshuffle the order of games on two separate occasions in coordination with Jewish Sabbath.

You want to give TAPPS the benefit of the doubt here, but given the seemingly limited flexibility displayed in this situation, that’s sort of tough to do.

By the way, TAPPS reportedly makes it a point to not play Sunday games – you know, in observance of Christian days of worship.

(Kudos to SbB for the find)

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