Ethan D'Amato '21
St. Albans is a school built on its academic prowess, strength of character, and the strength of brotherhood that it instills in its students. These characteristics are all built through the robust tradition that pervades every aspect of student life. Whether it be Family Lunch, our dress code, or something else, every tradition at St. Albans serves a purpose, yet one of them seems outdated: the sports requirement.
Sports are a tricky topic at STA. There are some who swear by them and have been to every BEEF game. Others, though, have never even participated in a team sport at St. Albans and avoid every BEEF game like the plague. Each of these people have had valid STA experiences and go through school, but only one of them is supported by the administration. Only one of them gets support while the other is forced to conform. Now, I'm not here to argue which one provides a better STA experience because I see the value in both, but it is my firm belief that the sports requirement at STA is poorly thought out. Nowhere is this more obvious than in St. Albans’ poor excuse for a personal fitness program. Instead of offering personal trainers or specialists to help kids stay in shape, STA brings in its out of season coaches to run what essentially is a lower schooler’s PE class. Upper School students play dodgeball or knockout and rarely ever get space in the weight room or help in terms of fitness. Instead of feeling like a fitness program meant to help students stay in shape, it often feels like intramurals were created to run out the clock until students in other sports are finished. This means that students feel obligated to join a team sport where their time isn’t wasted, and they can get the support they need to stay in shape. If St. Albans won’t support the only non-competitive outlet for fitness, why have a sports requirement at all?
Some people find their competitive outlet in sports. They love football, wrestling, and a myriad of other competitive activities, but competition doesn't only come from sports. Whether it be chess, robotics, or ItsAcademic, people can find their competitive outlet anywhere and get invested in a myriad of things. Yet, in order to get a decent physical education from STA, one has to invest themselves into team sports. Often, people don’t have time for both so they are forced to choose one: physical health or their passion. No one should have to make that choice. STA seriously needs to reconsider the way it structures sports, before anyone else has to make that choice.