By: Leighton Gray
Beaver Athletics provides students with technical skills and they learn to rely on teammates. This allows them to become more reliable on themselves and make quick decisions while under pressure. They also let students create friendships with other students outside of a classroom setting. Many students found the Beaver Athletics atmosphere to be supportive while entering Freshman year.
“Joining the soccer team freshman year was so helpful because I met so many people in my grade and kids in the grade above me even before school started,” Caitlin Hagerty ‘20 says. While entering a new school can be frightening, preseason sports helps alleviate this stress for students.
“This year when I joined the lacrosse team I met a lot of new people that were in my grade or older than me. Being on the team really helped me become closer with other freshmen which I found very helpful after coming into a new school,” another student, Ella Leighton ‘22 says.
Another way sports can help relieve the stress of entering a new school is connecting with upperclassmen. They understand what he or she may be going through and can guide them as the school year commences. Also, a number of Beaver teachers serve as coaches in both the Middle and Upper School. Teachers regularly attend athletic events, support students, and help build school spirit. This allows students to have a deeper relationship with teachers throughout the students time at Beaver. Nicole Kelly – Aglio, Junior, says, “I love playing sports such as hockey, lacrosse, and ice hockey at Beaver because they have made me so close with my teammates and I get to know teachers like Gould in and outside of school.” Gould is the Assistant Director of Upper School Athletics and is always seen talking and laughing with students in the halls or lunch room.
Ninth and tenth graders must be in an afternoon activity all three terms and participate in at least one fitness activity per year. Eleventh and twelfth graders must be in an afternoon activity two of the three and terms and at least one fitness activity one term a year. Many students receive these athletic requirements by being a team manager for a season or being in the play or musical. Donovan Crawford ‘20 says, “The musical has been an amazing experience because it is so fun to be on stage with everyone.” Students love participating in the Performing Arts at Beaver because of the lively feel when you walk on stage. Melina Bertsekas ‘20 says, “Being in the musical is so amazing because I get to sing with all my friends and during tech week you spend all weekend at school.” Many students love the experience of being in the play or musical because, similar to a sports team, it provides connections with students of all ages and teachers. This year, the Spring Musical, A Chorus Line, had students and faculty raving. The amazing singers and actors created a beautiful piece that was almost sold out for most nights.
However, the commitment of being on a competitive sports team comes with its consequences. Since Beaver is in the Eastern Independent League (EIL), many of the schools they compete against are far away. For example, Pingree is an hour away, which forces students to leave early from their classes because they have to drive to the school. Many students will have to leave around 2:30 for games and can get back as late at 8:00 or 9:00 pm, which causes them to miss material others were learning in class. Molly Rosenberg ‘20 says, “During Junior year it would have been helpful if we didn’t get back from away games so late because of how much homework we must complete.” Many Juniors feel this way because of the added stress of preparing for college throughout the year. Such as scheduling tours, working on the SAT/ACT’s, researching college. Sallie Chope ‘20 says, “I am on the varsity tennis team and I find it challenging when I have to leave class early because when I miss work I have to find the time to make it up or go in during x-blocks to catch up.” This is a mutual feeling among student-athletes. Along with missing class because of games, many students get injured because of their given sport. Ben Pratt ’20 says, “I got a concussion from playing lacrosse which made me miss a lot of schools and I had to leave early a bunch. I missed a lot of would and had to make it up for homework but if I was confused my teachers were really helpful.” Concussions are common among student-athletes because of the strenuous pressure during games. However, teachers do an exceptional job at making time for students that need help when they have been absent. The teachers are also always willing to provide help when a student is confused and need extra help after they have been gone.
On the other hand, many students are granted a waiver from participating in Beaver athletics because of their involvement in a club or activity outside of school. This separation can contribute to a whole different experience at Beaver. A rare perspective can come from a student who entered as a Sophomore and has waivered every term. Being apart of a competitive dance team requires 12 hours of training every week for every season. This prohibits dancers from being able to participate in athletic teams at school. However, many dancers have been dancing their whole life and don’t remember what it would be like to be on a school team. I decided to ask some of my teammates to see if the felt the same way. Kate Bhatt, ‘22 at Wellesley High School says, “I don’t regret playing on a sports team during middle school and high school because I like coming to the studio every day and it’s like an escape from all the stress of school and friends.” Many students who waiver enjoy the luxury of being able to be apart of another community teams create, outside of Beaver. This allows students to create long-lasting friendships with people outside of school. I asked another student to tell me how she felt about our team and not being on a sports team at school. Anna Taber, Wellesley High School ‘20 says, “I love our team because it is a family and if I am stressed about a test or paper I can come here and forget about it.” Having a community outside of Beaver allows students to release stress, which is crucial throughout high school. Also, being on a team that does not change every season allows students to observe their peers grow throughout the year and create stronger bonds.
Being apart of Beaver athletics gives students the exhilaration of winning and learning how to rebound from defeat, a powerful life lesson. These sports also initiate connections throughout the Beaver community. This sense of community is similarly found in many waiver students because of their commitment to their sport outside of Beaver.