Officials Steal Title!

In the spring of 1979, I was an instructor at the United States Military Academy located at West Point, NY.

Sports were emphasized at the academy. The sports programs for dependent youths were outstanding. One program was a Saturday youth bowling league. An experienced league bowler, I volunteered as a bowling instructor for the team which included my children, Sonia and Alex. I emphazied that each child learn the fundamentals of bowling.

There was an annual Tri-State Youth Bowling Tournament for league bowlers from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The post youth activities office provided a bus and encouraged youth bowlers to participate. Sonia and Alex both signed up along with their friends.

Due to official duties, I was unable to attend the tournament. Therefore, I can only repeat what I was told by the adults and children who were there. The tournament program provided for place (first, second and third) trophies for boys and girls for both team and individual events in several age groups. Finally, there was an "all events champion" trophy for the bowler with the highest combined score from several specific events. Unlike the other events, there was only one "all events champion".

Tournament officials were dumbfounded when Sonia, a 10 year old girl, won or placed in every event in which entered. Her total for the events included in the "all events" championship were by far the highest. Tourament officials instead of honoring her achievement, suddendly found another trophy and, although they had never done so before, created separate boys and girls divisions of the "all events" championship. Sonia was downgraded to the girls' championship. She was no longer the champion but rather, the girls' champion. Her pride and her accomplishment in being the first girl to win the all events championship was taken away.

The high scoring boy lost nothing by Sonia having the highest combined score, he had won several trophies and was second to the all events champion, an admirable achievement. By changing the rules after the fact, those officials did not save the boy's pride from losing to a girl, however, they did manage to steal Sonia's well earned accomplishment. They gave no thought whatsoever how their actions afected Sonia, their only concern was not to have a girl as the overall champion.

The trophies Sonia won were now meaningless. Girls did not count! Sonia refused to participate the following year.

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