While I am not a fan of the “everyone gets a medal” school of thinking, I do believe in earned accolades. So I was startled to read a story about 7-year-old Canadian student Grayson Powell, a little bowling wunderkind who actually earned a trophy at a Canadian Youth Bowl tournament the old fashioned way — by kicking some pre-adolescent bowling booty in the lanes three times in a row.
It wasn’t until the medals ceremony that he was stripped of his win.
For a wardrobe violation.
And no, he wasn’t wearing an OLD BOWLERS NEVER DIE [blah blah blah] BALLS t-shirt; or bowling shoes with Mad Max: Fury Road-style rusty spikes protruding from the sides for hobbling his little opponents. It was something far more benign.
As CBC News reports:
Seven-year-old Grayson Powell bowled the game of his life on Saturday during a non-league tournament, putting up a high round of 171 en route to a championship win for his team of three.
Grayson was given some harsh news immediately after the provincial gathering — he was disqualified for the colour of his pants.
So right now I’m thinking okay…well he broke the rules. They’ve got a uniform requirement, and you’re supposed to wear black pants so you wear black pants.
But it turns out Grayson was wearing formerly black but not-so-black-anymore jeans. I suppose that in fairness, that’s a disputable uniform choice. What really gets me, though, is that St. John’s tourney judges let the kid bowl in a 15-minute warm-up in those jeans.
Then they let him bowl a game in those jeans.
Then they let him bowl a second game in those jeans.
Then they let him bowl a third game in his jeans.
So I don’t know; I’m the parent who takes like 16 hours to bowl a single game with my two kids and I still score a 42. But it seems to me like a warm-up plus three full tournament games leaves plenty of time for a judge to oh…maybe let the child’s parents know that someone needs to run to the nearest Target? Maybe grab some more suitable pants?
Instead, they waited until he was in the ceremonial line-up, ready to accept his gold medal for winning all three games, then pulled his mom aside to announce Grayson’s disqualification. All, according to Grayson’s dad, for a more nefarious reason having to do with hometown junior bowling club rivalries.
It’s like he was framed. (Sorry, bad. I know.)
But seriously, WTF adults?
There’s no cash prize here. There’s no direct path to the 2020 Canadian Olympic Bowling team. There’s no free ride to Saint Ambrose University on a bowling scholarship.
Just a little boy. Standing in front of a judge. Asking him to love him — and give him a medal.
According to CBC News, when asked how losing his hard-won award made him feel, Grayson simply said, “sad.”
As a parent, I’m feeling pretty sad too, Grayson. I bet a lot of us are. But I hope you know that it’s not the medal that makes you a winner.
Read the full story at CBC News.
Top photo: Eddy Kennedy/CBC News