Wesley Solomon, '24
The defining trait of St. Albans School is its brotherhood. There is no better example of the St. Albans brotherhood than in its sports teams. St. Albans and sports go hand and hand like peanut butter and jelly, or Bonnie and Clyde for those allergic to peanut butter.
Sports at STA have made a profound impact on me as a person; it’s where I’ve made my closest friends, learned the most challenging lessons, and been pushed to my extremes. Last year I participated in three sports: football, basketball, and Crew. Each lift, each practice, and each game taught me different lessons about life, this school, but most importantly, about myself.
This year was the first time I played contact football. It was tough from the very beginning. Early morning lifts in the summer, hundred-yard bear crawls across the baseball field, and countless up-downs tested me as a man and as an athlete. Among all the struggle were two very important lessons. On the first day of pads, I vividly remember Coach Armstrong excitedly yelling, “Today is the day we’ll see if you can actually play football!” He later explained that everyone has a plan; everyone can catch passes, run routes, and tackle a bag but it is not until you get knocked down and have to get back up that you find whether you can play or not.
The second lesson I have taken away from football dates back to the first Varsity football game I attended. If you know anything about the STA football program, then you probably know that going into last season we had not had a winning season for more than a decade. You would not, however, have been able to guess that by the number of students who came out to support the boys at Bishop Ireton Week 1 of last season. Even after a decade of losing seasons, the BEEF Club showed up to support the boys. This taught me another important lesson. Just showing up to support someone can make a big impact.
Following football, I participated in basketball; it was not my first time playing basketball, but coming off of a couple covid years, it was definitely a shock to my system. Throughout the season, Coach OJ always talked about the little things like touching the line, doing the extra repetition, or helping a teammate out. In the moment it felt tedious because I thought that as long as we were winning games, the little things shouldn’t matter. In retrospect this taught me another important lesson: sometimes it doesn’t matter if you win or lose but rather how you carry yourself while doing it.
In the spring, I participated on the crew team. It was the first time I had ever participated on a varsity team, and I can still remember the excitement I felt when I made the first varsity boat. Throughout the season, I had a blast rowing under sunsets and sunrises, bridges and monuments, rain and shine, however, I began to become complacent, and with two weeks left in the season, I was seat raced out of the boat. Again, I learned an important lesson, doing the bare minimum doesn’t cut it. To succeed, you must go above and beyond.
However, transcending all of the life lessons, heartbreaking losses, exhilarating wins, early mornings, and late nights are the lifelong relationships I built with my friends -- scratch that -- my brothers.