The Cinderella team I picked from the beginning of March Madness (big U.S. men’s college basketball tournament season) to win it all is in the Final Four, and West Virginia’s dramatic matchup with Duke will be played during the Easter Vigil. Alas, there’s no contest.

Thank God for DVRs.

This little dilemma reminds me of a story that’s been sitting in my blog lineup for a while now, but worthy of attention all the same.

On Thursday afternoon [February 25] 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…

“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.

First Things first.

(Go Mountaineers!)

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....