For only the second time in the past 16 seasons, Coolidge will not be playing in the Interhigh League baseball tournament.
Under Coach Len Farello, the Colts have been one of the league's top teams, winning several titles. With six games remaining, the Colts were 6-4 and had the talent to earn another playoff berth.
But Farello, irate over what he called the disrespect and lack of discipline shown by a few of his players, did what most coaches wouldn't have the character to do: he forfeited the remainder of the season.
The Colts had been involved in a couple of minor incidents in earlier games, but the last straw occurred when the team, minutes after losing a recent game to H.D. Woodson, engaged in a free-for-all.
No one was hurt, but Farello had had enough. He recommended to his administration and league athletic director Otto Jordan that his team be punished by forfeiting its remaining games as a current and future lesson to his players.
"I was not taught the game this way and I won't have it," said Farello, also the assistant basketball coach at the Northwest Washington school. "I'm not saying the Woodson thing was entirely my kids' fault, but they have to learn to control their emotions. They knew they were wrong."
Farello said the league needs to institute some behavioral codes for both players and coaches, such as the ones recently passed by Prince George's County.
"This type of behavior needs to be stopped," Farello said. "It is happening with other teams here and across the country. Kids have to learn to win and lose with class. I like to win as much as the next guy, but sportsmanship is the lesson to be learned first. Hopefully, this will teach the kids that lesson. I didn't like doing what I did, but somebody had to do it."
Too many other coaches are too interested in wins and losses and it would take an Act of Congress to make them suspend a player, much less forfeit the season. Too many coaches have forgotten about building character and sportsmanship.
Hats off to you, Len Farello.
Jair Lynch, who will be a junior at Sidwell Friends in the fall, finished third in the all-around gymnastics competition three weeks ago at Princeton to qualify for the national finals at UCLA June 25-29. Lynch, 15, the top black gymnast in his age group, is one of five boys who will represent Region VII (East Coast) in the national finals.
Lynch, 5-2 and 125 pounds, had some impressive scores at Princeton in his best showing so far. Out of a maximum point total of 20, Lynch finished first in vault with 19.05; first in floor exercises (18.90); second in pommel horse (18.50); fifth in the high bar (18.35), and third overall with 108.20 (out of 120).
"The top 10 gymnasts in the national competition will represent the U.S. in the international competition in August," said Lynch's father, Acklyn, a professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. "The way he is going now, we feel he has a good shot at it."
The rise to the top has been a steady one for Lynch, an honor roll student. For three straight years, he has won the Maryland championships in his age group. Last year, he finished second in the vault, fifth in the parallel bars and 38th overall (out of approximately 150) and was invited to train for the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs last summer.
Two months ago, Lynch won the South Atlantic boys invitational in Wilmington, Del.
Ida P. Johnson, a former captain of the swimming team at Cardozo, graduated magna cum laude from Johnson C. Smith University last week. Johnson, who swam the backstroke and helped Cardozo win the Interhigh League title, last week served as the clerk of the course at the annual D.C. Special Olympics Spring Games swim meet at Gallaudet . . . Latest basketball signees: Eastern All-Met David Williams with Auburn; Wilson All-Mets Joe Wylie with Miami and Stefani Thomas with Penn State; Seton All-Met Laurie Sanders with Towson State; DeMatha's Jack Ruppert with Colgate and Mike Manning with William & Mary . . . St. John's basketball coach Joe Gallagher, H.D. Woodson football and girls' basketball coach Bob Headen and Anacostia football coach Willie Stewart were named winners of the Franklin Life Select Circle Coaching Awards.