Not All About Winning

I don’t understand why high school sports are taken so seriously sometimes. Realistically most high school athletes won’t continue much further with whatever sport they’re playing. I understand and appreciate wanting to be good and wanting to win, but sometimes you just want to play to have fun and it seems like there isn’t room for that in high school.

I was at my sister’s volleyball team meeting today and it was flat out said, “At this level in high school, it’s all about winning.” My sister is JV and honestly not amazing nor does she care to be, but she wanted to play because she thinks the sport is fun, her friends are doing it, and she wants a consistent way to work out. However, every year she comes so close to quitting because she feels like it’s taken way too seriously and all of her time becomes dedicated to the sport in an overwhelming way.

My sister quit competing gymnastics going into her freshman year. She used to train 12+ hours a week so when she quit she knew she was going to need to find some other sport to keep her active. Yet it seems it’s kind of hard to start a new sport once you get to high school.

I’m sure my sister isn’t the only person who discovered that they’re ready to try something new in high school. Shouldn’t high school be all about trying new things while you still can? It kind of stinks that everything is so serious and competitive and “top level” that it becomes hard to just try out new sports and stay active for fun.

I constantly wonder why high school’s don’t have intramural teams (or at least mine didn’t). Colleges have intramural teams and, while I’ve never played on one, I love the concept: form a small team that maybe practices once a week and then compete against other teams in a recreational way for a few weeks, then find a new sport to try out. I think it’s great that colleges have this option, though I find with everything else going on in college, it still can be hard to actually find time to play on a team. In high school though, it seems like it could be a perfect medium for those people who just want to have fun being active.

Imagine if every six weeks or so there was a new intramural sport offered, maybe even during the offseason of the varsity sport so people could use it as a time to have fun before getting super competitive. Maybe there could even be odd sports offered like Galic football or ultimate frisbee. The games could even just be in-house scrimmage style, or maybe small teams form at the school so each small team finds one day to practice that works for those x number of kids, and then there is one day set aside for matches between the small teams. Like soccer games are normally 11v11 in high school, but you could also just play mini-games of 5v5 or 7v7 or whatever really, the point is to have fun being active not to try and get college scholarships or win big tournaments.

It would also be a great way for kids involved in the arts to also be able to play sports. That was a big problem for me because I played soccer since I was 3 and enjoy the sport a lot, but I also loved theater and there was really no good way for me to do both for school. I’m sure if there was just a once a week commitment it would be much easier to work around with my theater commitment.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like a lot of students could benefit from a more recreational, short-term, low commitment sports team at school.

I’ve been having this same thought for years now actually. After finishing writing this post I just found a post from February 2016 essentially about the same topic. Maybe one these days the idea will stick with someone because at this point I’ve excepted it isn’t my challenge to take on, but it’s still one I find coming up as I continue to have friends and family in similar situations to me with the high school sports debacle.

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Time to Practice

I find myself creating a list of things that I’d like to do, but then I never get around to working on them. Like playing the flute for example.
I’ve played the flute since 4th grade, but this past year I only practised a few times all year. I like playing music. It’s fun to test my fingers, breathing, and mind for how complex of songs I can play and see for how much time I can continue to play. It’s a practised skill though, so the more I practice the better my breath control and the longer I can play. I guess eventually though, the better you get, the more likely you are to stay at a more advanced level.
I was thinking about this while practising flute today for the first time in a while. I was impressed that I played for as long as I did – not really sure how long it was, but it was longer than I expected to be able to play. A similar experience happened when I decided to play soccer last night. I knew I’d be rusty considering I hadn’t played all year despite telling myself I’d play of fun in college, but surprisingly I wasn’t as rusty as I was expecting. A lot of the skills I had gained from playing over the past 16 years of playing must have somehow been ingrained into my muscle memory because, while I wasn’t great, I somehow managed to have decent control and footwork; the difference is now I’ve just been really sore today…
I love having time and easy access to just jump into old skills. It’s the time of year where I reassess what I’ve done in the past year and what skills and practices I want to bring more into my life again.

Part of Life

IMG_4221.jpgI know I’m a nerd and an actress, as do many others, but a lot of people don’t realize, or remember at least, that I’m also an athlete- and I’m not just talking about gymnastics/acrobatics. I’ve been playing soccer since I was three years old and I’ve played on a number of teams from the YMCA, to Concord Fire, to Windsor’s select team, and my freshman and sophomore year I attempted to juggle playing Varsity on top of everything else.

Last year was actually the first year since being three that I didn’t play soccer for any team. My rec team didn’t have enough girls signed up to play in the fall. Then in the spring, I quit Varsity because trying to go between drama and soccer was challenging, and being the only girl in the grade playing on top of not really making practices made it hard to connect with everyone. But connection is in my opinion one of the most important parts to having a successful team of any kind. My rec team has been playing together since u8, so for about 10 years now. Back then we had two teams because there were so many girls and our coach had two daughters about 2 years apart, so there was an older team and a younger team and some of us played for both. Every year we have some people leave, some people get too old to be on the team, and some new people join, but the team has always had a strong core of people who have been playing together since the beginning. This strong core has continued to make the team so much stronger because we all know how each other play and can trust each other on and off of the field. The group mind is so good that there are times where we can say nothing and yet know exactly how people will move on the field and get the ball to our team.

I use to go to school with a lot of my teammates and they’ve always been some of my best friends, so not having this team last year was really hard because then I didn’t see people as often. Luckily this year our team is back and I’ve had a great time so far at our two games getting to play a sport I love with people I love. We call ourselves the Misfits since most of us have past playing for really good teams, but now we just play rec, don’t practice, have barely enough to play each game, and typically play the entire game, yet we are still able to win 4-0 like this weekend’s game even with two new girls who have never played before.

Playing on this team reminds me of how sad it is when you stop seeing some of your best friends all of the time. School is such a big part of our lives that once you go to a different school it becomes so much harder to stay in touch with people. That’s what I’m least looking forward to about college- saying goodbye to so many great friends. Sure I hope to stay in contact with people, but I know from experience that you never stay as close to people once you stop seeing them everyday. Even seeing my soccer friends again this year at games doesn’t feel like enough. It often seems that there will never be enough time, so I’ve just learned to remember to cherish every moment of time we do get to spend together.

I’m Not a Professional

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Today was one of the rare occasion this year where I actually left school at the normal time because I was not needed in rehearsal or for anything else at school today.

So while I was waiting to get picked up I went and watched soccer for a little, and even though the girls team was only stretching while I was there, it made me miss soccer a lot. I haven’t played in forever! This is like the longest I’ve gone without playing since I was 3 I think and it’s just weird. I didn’t notice how much I missed it until I went outside on a nice day like this and was imagining, “aw it would feel so great to run around and play some…”

I know I’d get exhausted and sweaty and practice would be a butt with my throat in its current state of potentially sick and a bit of allergies, but I still would like to play again.

It’s annoying because I love soccer and want to play but in seems that anything you participate in during high school is expected to be like professional level commitment. I’m interested in a lot of different things, and I love just trying stuff out and having fun exploring curiosities; however, I do not have the time to participate in all of my curiosities at a professional level.

I hear schools around the world talk about “having room to fail” or “having the space to explore curiosities” or “having built out time in the day for relaxing time.” However sometimes I question how much these phrases are put into practice. My best friend put it great when she said,

“It feels like we have to involve ourselves in everything so deeply in high school and nothing is just for kicks anymore.”

We aren’t professionals, and not all of us want to be professionals. For those of us that don’t know, how do we start figuring it out if we don’t have times to just try out new things.

During our “free time” a lot of people have meetings or make up quizzes or tutorials to get to. We had to discuss in a cappella today about how we plan on continuing since we never have everyone there and it just reminded me of how busy we are, but those of us that truly care find the time. Even during our break/club time on Monday’s and Friday’s most of us just get ready for the next class and talk a little, which is fun, but I wonder what it would be like if we had to go outside- like in middle school.

Personally I feel like I never see the sun anymore because I’m in the school building from 7:30am-6pm just about everyday. Today was so pretty outside and I would have missed it. I don’t want to miss it but I struggle to get myself out there.

Among other things, I wish we had intramural sports teams. A place for people that want to try something new or just want to have some fun doing something they love without giving it a full time commitment. I don’t have the time for soccer every day for 3 hours after school, but I’d love if we had little scrimmages maybe on a Saturday or around 6 once a weeknight.

Not everything you do has to be all about winning. Why can’t some things just be for fun? I happen to know several girls quit the soccer team this year because they noticed from the start that it was more intense then they wanted. I respect deeply those players that want to get really good at honing their skills so they can win some games and maybe go to the playoffs, but I also know there are some girls who don’t make the team or who simply don’t want the same things from the sport and I wish there was space for us to still have fun doing something we love.

The natural thing I think to myself after rereading this post, as if it wasn’t me who wrote it, would be to say “Well that’s going to take extra people and organizing and equipment, but why don’t you try to start?” The thing is, I don’t have the time to do work on that endeavor, so for now I just get to be a little upset and through out my ideas on my blog. Story of my life.

Practice like Campions

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Most people that know me know that I’m not a huge sports fan. I play either soccer or gymnastics just about everyday, but still the only time I’m really considered to be a huge athlete is at Nerd Camp which is super stereotypical when you think about it but also very true. (That’s what happens when you are one of 2 girls to consistently play ultimate frisbee.)

I enjoy playing just about any sport for fun, but I don’t often watch sports. Tonight however, I don’t know of many people who weren’t watching the fantastic World Cup game for the USA girls!!!!

I mean they were on fire and I honestly can’t think of anything else right now. It just goes to show that when you practice hard and work as a team, things are bound to work in your favor eventually. So now for the first time since 1999 (so since the year I was born) USA can be known as the World Cup campions!!!!!!!!!

Hide and Seek

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Summer seems to go by so fast sometimes, and yet it has still barley begun.

Tonight is the last time my entire family will be together for a little over a month because we will all be off at various camps. My brother, sister, and mom are leaving tomorrow morning for a gymnastics sleep away camp in Tennessee so today we had to run a bunch of errands before they leave.

If you’ve ever heard of the “song that never ends” well today was the “trip that never ends”. We kept being very unsuccessful everywhere and then would have to go to yet another store in order to finally finish getting through our list after a little over 5 hours. The list wasn’t even that long!!!

While running errands I saw some people from Mount Vernon and started talking to them about their summer. It was especially funny because the first thing they said to me was, “It seems like you’ve been at school a lot since summer started based on social media at least.” And they were so right.

I feel like how a person spends their summer can say a lot about them. What do you care enough about that you choose to spend your “free time” away from school working on it? Well for me, apparently that thing is more school. I mean in a week I’ll be off to camp for 3 weeks at another school, and this time it’s a college: Duke East. Then at the end of the summer I’ll be at Yale for 3 weeks.

Besides my various Nerd Camps for this summer, I’ll also be traveling to visit family and friends in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York which is always fun! Some of my friends and I, that I will see while in West Virginia for my family reunion, have decided that we are going to play a Disney medley duet at the talent show which I’m excited about! Plus for the first year ever we are having a specific acro/group dance camp, as well as a Drama camp at Jump Start that I’m also super excited about! (I’ve even already started choreographing the dance.) Then I will come back just in time for a few soccer practices before the school year starts back up. Not to mention we are officially moving in July to our new house!! Plus while I am in town I’ve already had a ton of fun times hanging out with my other friends that are still in town.

It’s funny, I hadn’t quite thought about it before but my summer describes me so well: work (primarily for school and most of which I enjoy), travel, family, friends, music, acro (and the gym), and soccer.

Summer isn’t like school, there aren’t teachers constantly around watching over you and making sure you get certain things done. Summer is a time of choices. It’s your time to go out and seek whatever you want. There is only a finite amount of time between school years and you have to choose how you want to spend that time. What matters enough to fit into the schedule?

It’s what you do when no one’s looking that often says the most about you.

The Power of a Scrimmage

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Today I had the most fun soccer game ever!

So we were all worried because we only had 10 players (we had one extra show up) and our coaches were leaving (therefore Todd was what we call our 4th string coach that was going to be there) and then we thought the game was going to be 40 minutes late but we were on the other field.

But then they show up with 7 players and one is in a cast…

So instead, they forfeited and we scrimmaged with 30 minute halves. We played all 10 of us and they had their 7, both of our coaches, and their coach, plus someone’s sister so they had a sub until our main coach left.

(So we coached ourselves the entire game and I was captain and had a fun time with their captain as well as making decisions on starting line up and our half time talk. And we had basically an entire team of mids which made for an interesting line up of mainly offense.)

We still were up 2-0 at half time.

Then for the 2nd half (at this point both of our coaches who were dominating their team, had left) so they added another sister and got one of the refs to play for them who started playing easy then realized they couldn’t play and we could get around him at that level, so he started having fun and playing full out. (He did score once, after we lost all of our defense and had someone random in goal)

We lost 2 girls and were at this point playing 12-8. And with their coach being an amazing goalie we still won 5-1.

Had it been a real game, I wonder how things would have been different.

I felt like everyone on the field was really laid back about everything. I mean their team joked at the beginning that we would crush them, but they were awesome sports and I really admired their spirit and drive. They didn’t want to forfeit, but they didn’t have close to enough to play. They were then all really enthusiastic when we said we wanted to scrimmage anyway just for fun and were laughing with us about how much fun the game would be while playing with a bunch of random extra coaches and family members.

At half time the coaches asked if we would play a second half or not and the ref said it was up to us, and we all (from both teams) wanted to keep going because it was so much fun to not have to really take it seriously and just try out stuff we wouldn’t normally do in a game.

I love having the opportunity to have fun with skills you’re developing. I wish we had more metaphorical “scrimmages” in school where we could just play and have fun with skills in a low risk environment, and it is even more fun when mentors and outside guests get involved in the action too!

Plus, not only was the game a lot of fun, I felt like I was practicing my skills as a leader a bunch too. I’ve been playing soccer for at least 10 years now, and I’ve been playing with this coach for about the past 5 years I think. When I had texted my coach before the game about uniform stuff, he also mentioned that when he left early that I was in charge. To be honest, I wasn’t trilled about playing this game just because I was tired after getting up at 7:30 (which is much earlier than normal for me on a Saturday) and then coaching all morning because people are out of town. When we found out it was a scrimmage, we all started to get a little more energetic because since our coaches were on the other team we were on our own the entire game and not just the end. Which also meant, I was captain the entire game.

I lead warm up, helped lead the process of us figuring out our line up, and at half time I got the team together to talk about what we needed to do better in the second half and how we were going to set up when we lost people. Now I’ve done most of this before at times, but typically with a coach around still or during practice. There has been situations in the past where our two teams (we are so big that during some seasons we have two teams) play each other, so the older girls would coach ourselves; however, I was always one of the younger girls on the older team so I was just kind of going through the motions back then while the older girls would lead.

Today was one of those days where I really felt like a leader during the game and could feel myself being more talkative (in a productive way) on the field too. Just another growing up moment. 🙂

Transdisciplinary, but Trans-Grade Levels?

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Today during math class we were learning about a topic that apparently has a lot to do with physics because all of the current physics students were talking about how they use the math in that class and already learned some of this stuff.

This immediately made me think, “Well this would be an amazing opportunity for a transdisciplinary class. Sometimes it just seems so obvious.” This conversation went further though. We started to talk about the different grade levels and how not everyone in pre calculus is taking physics, specifically, none of the sophomores who make up a decent chunk of the class. Furthermore, our teacher isn’t actually on the sophomore or junior grade level team. In fact she is on the 9th grade team, but she teaches just as many sophomores as well (not as many juniors).

She noted how it feels hard for her sometimes to make connections with other classes on her grade level team, but in for the topics for older students that seem to so obviously connect, it is hard to actually make that connection with another teacher because she isn’t on that grade level team.

Now every system has it’s positives and negatives. That is unavoidable. But this conversation just made me think about how we set up different grade levels in general. What if you were more mixed with different grade levels while in high school? I mean in the “real world” you are never going to only work with people your own age.

ID is the only period where I’m working with 3 different grade levels (almost all 4) and we have 2 teachers mentors rather than just one. And having all of these different levels of experience, knowledge, and opinions in one place to use as resources has been fantastic. This is one of the many things in ID that I wonder about how it could be transposed into other areas of school.

After my soccer game today (we lost), this same concept came up because on the bus ride back to school we only had 4 people on the bus. The funny thing was that we had one person from every grade level, and in my opinion it made for some interesting conversations since everyone had slightly different thoughts on things like iProject (yup that came up I may have been a little excited about officially having paint for the iStudio and was being all talkative about it), prom, and general social behavior things.

It just all makes me curious, how important it is to separate people by their age?

Struggle as Team; Grow as a Team

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(This is an old picture of my team, but it is one of my favorite pictures despite how many people have come and gone since then.)

I had another soccer game today, except this game wasn’t quite like the others we have had so far this season. Today we played who our coach considers to be our “arch-nemesis” basically because they are our only big competition in the rec league we play in (even though we are playing u19 which is way above our age level). This team beat us in our first game last season, but then we beat them later in the season, so today was the tie breaker which gave our coach an excuse to finally get serious about a game.

Competition is pretty great. Sure it is fun to win and being able to just mess around, but it is way more exhilarating to have that really close competition because that is when you learn what your team is made of. You have to be able to keep your head high and tuff things out until the end.

The other team played well, but in the end we won this game 4-1 (I scored again too!). While it may seem that we won by a decent number, the team really did have some good moments. The goal they did make was actually pretty clever of them because they took it really quickly after getting a free shot and most of our team wasn’t even paying attention. When the goal went in people thought it didn’t count because the referee didn’t blow his whistle, but it turns out that he doesn’t have to unless he has to count out 10 yards from the kick. (The more you know.) While at first some people were a little upset about the goal, and some people thought it wasn’t fair, we all had to admire their cleverness because in all seriousness that is what you are taught to do to win.

I decided to talk about soccer today because I realized that teams of any kind are all very similar. It is a group of people coming together based around one common interest that works towards some goal. Sometimes you will have great days where all of the dots seem to connect and you create something magical. Other days will be ruff and it will seem like nothing is being accomplished. Teams struggle, but the important thing is to struggle together. As a team keeping your head together is one of the most important things. If you can get another team mad enough to where they start yelling at each other, they will not play there best as a team, and it takes a team to win.  If you don’t struggle it will be much more difficult to grow because your best competition is what pushes you to strive for better. Win together, lose together, laugh together, cry together, but always stay together.

Communication

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It was a conference day for the Upper School today, so we didn’t have school. However, because we had this extra time, we took advantage by having a longer drama rehearsal from 12-3 today. Mr. Taylor, our director, mentioned it at least 3 times yesterday, it was written on our calendar, and there was an email sent out about it, yet some people still had excuses about not knowing about it.

We are doing 2 plays right now, so it is twice as much work and twice as stressful as normal. Our one act competition play is 15 Minute Hamlet, and because not everyone is in it, and it isn’t our main stage play, we don’t focus as much on it. We usually try to practice it from 3:15-4ish after school and then do Mort, our main stage play, until 5:45 after that. The one act competition is happening the day after Mort closes, so we can’t waist time, so it really doesn’t help when people don’t show up.

I just really don’t understand how people don’t realize that we have rehearsal, or don’t realize when it is. WE CONSTANTLY WERE TOLD ABOUT IT MANY DIFFERENT WAYS!!!!!!!!

I think communication may be the most key life skill. To be able to communicate means to both give and receive information well, and if you can’t communicate, you will have a hard time with any job. Because people weren’t good with communications, we did rehearsal today with about half of the cast for each, which just made things difficult. The MVPS Allstars our a team, and with any team we have to work together to actually be productive. At soccer we get told this all of the time, but it doesn’t only apply to sports.

The Disney Cohort has also been having some team issues lately. By this I mean, we don’t feel like a cohesive team. There are very obvious divides between freshman and upper class-men specifically, which causes a large disconnect. On a survey we took earlier in the week to help prompt our reflections, most people said that they didn’t really care about the person sitting next to them. That’s a problem, but I must say, I too ranked that one pretty low on our 1-5 scale.

I realized that while ID is said to be like its own grade level in an academic sense, it isn’t always treated that way on the social side of things. Every grade goes on a retreat, and from what everyone has said, the retreats really brought their grades closer together as a team that has to work together to be successful. However, ID didn’t go on a retreat together. I think it is important for every ID member to still be connected with their official grade, but I feel like ID needs to have some retreat style activity together. We haven’t really had that bonding time together where we completely forget about the things we are working on and just relax and have fun learning about each other.

Our cohort is going to be together for a while, but if we can’t feel completely comfortable to be uncomfortable with each other, we won’t have as much success as we could.  A team needs to communicate with each other to work well together no matter what type of team, sports, drama, or even ID.