A moment of celebration brought a premature end to the high school lacrosse careers of a sextet of Massachusetts athletes when the players’ school district ruled they violated a school policy by smoking cigars after their graduation.
As reported by the Boston Globe and other local media, six lacrosse players and one baseball player from Saugus (Mass.) High were suspended for their teams’ postseason tournaments after photographs taken after their graduation showed them smoking cigars. The players violated the Saugus Public Schools policy that bars the use of tobacco by student athletes.
According to the Globe, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has a similar rule, which made the Saugus schools’ decision moot.
“I’ve seen it at every graduation I’ve ever been to. Last year the team went to state tournament and they also smoked cigars. Didn’t see a problem then so don’t know why it’s a problem now,” Saugus lacrosse player Kevin Cucuzza told Boston CBS affiliate WBZ. “We thought we were celebrating a big milestone in life, but I guess not.”
The father of one of the team’s freshmen said the most frustrating aspect of the suspensions was that the rule had never been enforced before. Rather, it was a case of selective enforcement of a rule which he said clearly was being implemented without a larger degree of common sense.
“My son graduated last year and there were kids doing it [smoking cigars] last year, and nothing happened,” Saugus lacrosse parent Robert Divola told the Globe. “Rules are rules, I understand that, but it wasn’t like they were smoking marijuana or doing drugs. It was a celebratory cigar. It’s a big accomplishment graduating high school … I don’t think they thought about the consequences.
“It was a shock, a total shock. … It’s a sad thing. We’re missing six of our eight seniors. It is what it is. It’s a sad way to end their high school careers, you know?”