Loyola High pole vaulter Evan Barr only needed to clear his final height in order to win an individual state title at the California state track and field meet on Saturday. All the Los Angeles product needed to do to ensure that his team won a state title was to remain quiet after he failed to clear that final height. Unfortunately, emotions got the best of him, and Barr made a mistake that ended up costing his team a state title.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Barr shouted a curse word after he missed his final jump and was disqualified because of it. Had he not used a “profanity,” Barr would have finished in a tie for third place and given his team enough to win the state boys’ championship.
“He uttered a profanity out of frustration, and the officials thought it was significant to disqualify him,” Coach Mike Porterfield said. “He apologized immediately after he said it.”
Hal Harkness, the state rules interpreter, added that contestants “can’t be profane in a competitive area” and called Barr’s reaction “an unfortunate lapse in judgment.”
Apparently that would be an understatement. This is one of those instances where the most simple approach to take would be the “rules are rules” approach. The circumstances are obviously different from collegiate or professional athletics given that it happened at a high school event, but this still seems a bit harsh. Barr wasn’t cursing at an official or an opponent. He was simply frustrated that he screwed up. On the other hand, you can’t make exceptions to the rules based on circumstances — especially when dealing with high schoolers. One things for sure: Evan Barr will probably behave like he’s in church during athletic competition from here on in, and we’re left wondering what’s a bigger injustice, that or this.
Chest bump to Prep Rally for the story.