The Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.) High School girls lacrosse team has put together a magical 2019 season, cruising to a 17-1 record and the top seed in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 South Sectional playoffs. Now, as the team moves within 48 hours of opening the playoffs, it is facing sudden adversity.
As reported by the Martha’s Vineyard Times, varsity girls lacrosse head coach Kurstin Moore and associate head coach Bob Hayman were both suspended Tuesday morning following an investigation into “school attendance and practice policies.”
The decision was made and announced on Tuesday morning by Mark McCarthy, the athletic director of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. While the timing of that announcement might have raised some eyebrows due to its proximity to the start of the playoffs on Thursday.
To be fair, McCarthy and his staff clearly decided to announce the decision now to provide as much of a small window of preparation for the replacements, junior varsity coaches Jenny Hart and Jo Douglas, as possible.
Yet there were other circumstances that made McCarthy’s announcement all the more controversial: Moore was actually in the process of giving birth to her second daughter when it was announced.
Hayman was told of the decision by McCarthy, who was understandably unable to reach Moore.
“I’m not ready to make a public statement right now,” Hayman told the Vineyard Times. “I spoke with Kurstin earlier (Tuesday) and obviously she’s got other things on her mind right now.”
That’s putting it mildly. It’s obviously unknown if Moore would have been available to coach on Thursday even if she had not been suspended, but the fact that she was dismissed from her position as she gave birth is a cruel twist. That it came in the midst of a season that has a realistic shot at a state title is perhaps even more cruel.
McCarthy declined to provide the specific justification for the coaches’ dismissal, he did confirm that it was connected to the district’s policy for school attendance and athletic participation; Martha’s Vineyard has a policy in place that athletes can not practice or compete in a game if they miss any part of that school day.
Whatever the reason, the Moore family will have reason to celebrate June 4 in future years that should hopefully overshadow the other things that unfolded Tuesday.