Most students at RHS would agree that our school has a large athletic focus. The majority of students participate in at least one high school sport and also enjoy spectating their peers’ games. Not only are sports such a big part of our school’s culture because students are passionate about them, but also due to the many benefits that these extracurriculars have to offer. In addition to serving as a source of unity for individual teams, athletics also bring our school together when standing on the sidelines representing the maroon and white. Sports also provide students the opportunity to branch out socially and enjoy their teenage years, as our four years of high school are meant to be fun.
However, due to the competitiveness of high school sports, a large number of students do not take advantage of the value that comes from participating in an athletic program. And, even when students are able to enjoy a season, the high school season for each sport is very brief. Therefore, we should take initiative and create more club sports. Doing so lets students enjoy being part of a team without as much of a competitive edge, the intense pressure, or the hefty demands. These casual programs would be purely leisure and great experiences for students that do not consider themselves devoted athletes yet are interested in sports. For example, there are many sports not offered at the high school, like ultimate frisbee or field hockey, that have the potential to be very popular amongst students.
They are also a great way for athletes to enjoy their sport further than that which the high school season lasts. There are many sports offered at the high school that are too competitive for some students to join, like lacrosse, which would be very popular if a club league was organized. RHS winter and spring track member, Junior Ryan Mckenna stated, “Choosing between track and lacrosse was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.” Mckenna added, “Since I loved both equally, having the thought of losing one seemed terrible. In the end, I chose track because of the potential it held for me, but I still continue to play lacrosse on my own.”
Not only should we create more club sports, but students should also consider taking part in several recreational athletic programs that Ridgewood already offers, like biddy basketball, rec baseball, and rec soccer. It is very easy to join and organize teams for these recreational sports. For some of them, students coach their peers themselves, create their own team names, and form their own rosters, thus granting students the liberty to try something new on their own terms. Senior Will Maasarani, member of biddy basketball, stated “I like how I can play with my friends and it is taken seriously.” He added, “I think a lot of kids stress about school and sports, so biddy is a nice way to escape all that. Students have a ton of fun in these programs and always look forward to the next season.
So, if you find that you are not involved in enough activities or that you do not have enough to do, find one of the many recreational sports teams to join which welcome all, regardless of skill. If there is not one already, do not be afraid to organize one. Even if you have never considered playing a specific sport before, give it a try. It never hurts to try something new.
Graphic: Caleb Walsh