On Saturday, February 19, 2022, the Oakwood Adventist Academy (OAA) varsity boys basketball team could have set a school record by advancing to the Class 1A Northeast Final. Instead, they set an example for the world by forfeiting their game to observe the Sabbath.
The 2021-2022 OAA Mustangs boys basketball team was poised to make it further in post-season play than any of the school’s varsity boys teams before them. Unfortunately their regional semifinal game began at 4:30 p.m., one hour before sunset on Sabbath. In an attempt to play in the tournament, OAA contacted teams who were scheduled to play after sunset and asked the teams to switch time slots. Decatur Heritage Christian Academy supported OAA’s religious beliefs and was willing to swap times. However, the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), which sets the rules of the tournament, denied the requested schedule change several times. To honor God by observing the Sabbath, the OAA varsity boys basketball team forfeited the game.
The OAA team expressed their commitment to God over basketball. “When God created the earth, on the seventh day He rested; He calls us to rest on that day and give that day to Him,” said Raynon Andrews, senior captain of the team. “I’m not going to play on that day no matter what, because it’s bigger than basketball.”
The team hopes their decision to honor God inspires other youth and creates change so that the religious beliefs of other teams can be accommodated in the future.