Nfld. & Labrador

A dark controversy: Bowling championship stripped, 7-year-old DQ'd for wearing black-ish pants

Grayson Powell's pants were not black enough for one provincial bowling official, as the seven-year-old boy was disqualified after the game of his life.

Conspiracy is in the air, father says

Grayson Powell, 7, was disqualified from a provincial bowling tournament on Saturday at St. Pat's Lanes in St. John's when an official ruled his pants were not black enough to meet dress code rules. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

A youth bowling tournament in St. John's has caused a stir over the colour of a participant's pants.

Seven-year-old Grayson Powell bowled the game of his life on Saturday during a non-league tournament, putting up a high round of 171 en route to a championship win for his team of three.

Grayson was given some harsh news immediately after the provincial gathering — he was disqualified for the colour of his pants.

"The rule is you have to wear black pants," his father, Todd Powell, explained. "The problem I have with it, they allowed him to bowl prior [to disqualification]."

Todd Powell says his son was disqualified due to a scheme by a bowling official to help his hometown teams. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Grayson took part in a 15-minute warm-up. Nothing was said. He then bowled three games — the best three of his young life — and nothing was said.

It wasn't until he was lined up next to his teammates, ready to accept a gold medal for winning the just-for-fun tournament, that Youth Bowl Canada provincial director Gordon Davis pulled Grayson's mother into an office.

Her son, who was wearing faded black jeans, was disqualified.

His pants were just not black enough to meet the tournament's dress code.

"Parents ruin it for kids," Powell said. "If this is what sport is about when it comes to kids...shame on them."

A pair of faded black jeans are at the centre of controversy on the Newfoundland and Labrador youth bowling scene. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

While semantics can be argued — how black were his jeans, really? — Grayson's father has a deeper theory than the colour of his son's pants.

Davis also coaches teams out of a bowling alley in Corner Brook. The teams finishing second and third, who were bumped up to the top spots, were both from his lanes on the island's west coast.

"He should be ashamed of himself," the senior Powell said. "For [Davis] to go back to Corner Brook saying that, 'We won a provincial medal' — no. The three individuals that bowled on Saturday, they are the ones that won that medal."

Davis ejected the Riverdale team to use the provincial win to bolster his own club, Powell alleged.

These were the jeans seven year old Grayson Powell wore on Saturday when he was disqualified from a youth bowling tournament in St. John's for not wearing black pants. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"He owes these three individuals — three kids — a written apology."

Davis did not return messages left by CBC News.

As for Grayson, he went home feeling dejected, his father said.

When asked by a CBC reporter how the disqualification made him feel, he had only one word.



Ryan Cooke works for CBC out of its bureau in St. John's.

With files from On The Go


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?