Thursday, October 29, 2009

High-School Running Champs Lose Crown Due to Illegal Undies

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by Mark Hyman (Subscribe to Mark Hyman's posts) Oct 28th 2009 1:41PM

The Hereford High School Bulls lost their championship at the Baltimore County cross country races because one runner was wearing the wrong underwear. Credit: Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun

Victory goes to the fleetest, right? Not this week. Not in Baltimore County, Md.

A boys' cross-country team sped to victory in a high school championship only to have the triumph overturned for a strange reason: Illegal shorts.

Race officials took the crown away from the Hereford High School Bulls because one of their runners ran the race wearing black compression shorts with visible white stitching under uniform pants. That broke Rule 9, Section 6, Article 1b of the National Federation of High Schools' rules which state: "Items displaying seams stitched on the outside of the garment in a visible contrasting color to the undergarment will be illegal beginning with the 2009-2010 school year."
Nobody seemed happy about a big meet being decided by a runner's flawed choice of undies.

"It's an unfortunate situation. We have the utmost respect for [Hereford]," the coach of another team in the meet said to the Baltimore Sun. "They can take the plaque away, but they can't take away the race," Hereford's co-coach Jason Bowman, told the Sun.

Small uniform glitches leading to big disappointments aren't as rare as one would think in youth sports. In March, a Chicago high school basketball team lost a hard-fought game due to uniforms with bad stripes.

Yes, folks, bad stripes.

North Lawndale College Prep showed up for a game with stripes that breached a rule mandating that basketball shirts be one color from the neck to the armhole to the bottom of the jersey. The penalty for donning the non-conforming shirts was a free throw awarded to North Lawndale's opponent (which it sank). Final score: Centennial 66, North Lawndale (with bad stripes) 65.

ParentDish sports reporter Mark Hyman is the author of Until It Hurts: America's Obsession With Youth Sports and How It Harms our Kids (Beacon Press). Have a suggestion for an article on youth sports? Contact Mark at

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