Thursday, October 20, 2011

No sports for kids. Polygamy is live and well in some communities even though it is illegal throughout the United States it is a Felony. Multiple wives in some communities is still commonplace. This lifestyle is routinely ignored by some authorities and they are left to living this way. Typically the fundamentalist Mormon communities are ultra-conservative. Conservative enough to not participate in sports.
So, what happens when a small community breaks the rules and lets their children participate in sports? This town is divided as to if sports are good or evil. Some are thriving on sports teams others condemn them. When the kids want to sign up for a sport, the parents are shocked and saddened. They are disappointed in their child becoming radical.
The place is Colorado City. A remote town on the dry mountainous Utah / Arizona border. They wear the conservative dresses that Mormon women make and wear. They zealously follow their religious beliefs. It is also known for their very very large families. It is not uncommon for one person to have 20 or 30 siblings. To them Polygamy is believed to be the path to god.
Secular things like participation in sports is not recommended. It is like living in a bubble. They do not want their children doing anything else that is done in the “outside” world. Sports were never an option until now. The kids do not want to be “weird”. They want to be like everyone else in America. They know that people from other towns make fun of their hairstyles and dresses.
Many of the people in Colorado City are part of a sect that broke apart from the Mormon Church after the Church banned Polygamy. It is not a community that embraces change or the modern world. When the self- proclaimed prophet Warren Jeffs banned all activity with the outside world like board games and computers it was too much for the families.
Warren was listed in the FBI ten most wanted fugitives list. For unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, sexual contact with a minor and rape. He is currently in jail for having sexual relations with a 12 year old wife he is in his sixties. After he was sent away the town voted to bring it closer to the twentieth century. One woman who proposed change was a teacher who grew up on the outside and found a school without music, art or sports.
She started competitive sports for the children there. The problem is that the religion teaches that you should NOT have a competitive spirit about yourself. Some kids were told by some parents to keep the long dress on others were told to wear full body spandex under the uniforms. The rules had to be learned and leaving the compound to compete was a big problem. They were saying sorry and thank you on the courts!!!
The kids were heckled, ”Go home to your wives and many moms.” The kids did well though. The basketball teem finished their 2008 year 15-2 and beat the defending champs in the small town division. The sports in fact made the kids wanting to look forward to something than just starting families. Many with their families approval left and went to college.
The high school now has Volleyball and Football programs. Just last season the boys Basketball Team went to the Arizona State Championships finishing third in their division. Despite the success of the sports program, there is a ongoing battle between those families that do accept sports and those that do not.
The traditionalist feel more threatened by outsiders and sports. They are piling recyclables on the basketball courts, and harassing their neighbors if they are playing a sport. The controlling groups are trying to limit the exposure of their people to the outside world. For most people sports are just a game but for these people it is a way to the outside world..
It is a shame that religions are a cause for war and now imprisonment of our children.

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