When a religious feast conflicts with a sports schedule, atheletes have to make priorities, and these girls made an admirable decision:
On Thursday afternoon at the SunDome in Yakima, Wash., the Mercer Island (Wash.) Northwest Yeshiva girls basketball team walked onto the court for its consolation-bracket game in the Washington state tournament. The girls shook the hands of their St. John (Wash.) St. John-Endicott opponents. Then, they walked off the court.
Their actions weren't a protest or the result of any type of dispute. They were just the logical outcome of following their faith. The game was scheduled to be played during the Jewish "Fast of Esther," a time when those of the Jewish faith go without both food - and, more importantly, water - until sundown on Thursday. When their request to change the game time was denied, Northwest Yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish high school of just 95 students located just outside Seattle, decided to forfeit.
"We didn't think it was safe for the team to play without water," the school's head, Rabbi Bernie Fox, said. Because of it, the first team from a Jewish school to qualify for the state tournament became the first team in state history to forfeit a postseason game - all in the same week. The team finished the season with a 10-14 record.
The story indicates that the officials made every effort to reschedule, but it was such a large undertaking that it simply wasn't possible. It recalls the same conflict in Chariots of Fire, when the Presbyterian Eric Liddell wouldn't run on the Sabbath.