Recreational softball league won’t let 9-year-old boy play with his sisters

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OLD TAPPAN -

A Bergen County fourth-grader is fighting to be allowed to play on the same softball team as his sisters.

Cayden Walsh, 9, is one-third of a set of triplets which includes his sisters Kelsey and Kylee. The girls are on the recreational softball team that their dad also coaches. Cayden also wanted to join the team.

"My sisters are doing it and my dad has been coaching for a while. For the past three years, I've been going to every single practice,” he says. “When I tried baseball when I was a kid, I didn't like it so I decided, why not try softball."

Cayden even wrote a letter to officials at Old Tappan Borough where he lives. But his request was made with a hard “No” by the newly-named Northern Valley Girls Softball League.

"I said it is discrimination and it doesn't really matter what gender you are. You should be able to play whatever sport you want,” Cayden says.

"If I felt my son was wrong, I would tell him, ‘Hey Cayden, great letter. Super proud of you but it's not right.’ But he's right. We live in a different age nowadays,” says father Will Walsh.

Cayden’s parents say that they have spent the past two months going back and forth with the Old Tappan Borough Recreation Commission who says that they do allow boys on the team per the bylaws. But the league ultimately made the final decision not to allow Cayden to play.

"If their bylaws state that a boy is allowed to play - when the new bylaws were written for this league, they should've voiced ‘We agree a boy should play.’ Right? That's the town bylaws,” Will says.

Will says that he was given the option to create a co-ed league. But he says that with four children and the time it takes to set up a league – he won’t have time to do it this season.

"I'm not saying it should be this way forever. But right now there's no co-ed as we stand here today. So let the boy play,” says Will.

Neither Old Tappan or Northern Valley Girls Softball League officials were available to comment.

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