Athletics and Fostering Independence


We all want our kids to grow to be self-sufficient and independent. Athletics is such a great pathway to teach these important skills. These skills don’t happen overnight; they take time and take work on our end as parents. We all know it takes time and intentionality, but when the light switch flips it is one of the most exciting things to witness as a parent.

Over the past couple of years, I have watched my own kid mature to this state. She has landed in a place where she sets her own alarm for 5 a.m. to make sure she can finish studying for a quiz after a long basketball road trip, she gets herself up on a Saturday morning at o-dark-thirty without any support and has her bag packed, her breakfast made and everything ready for a full day at a club volleyball tournament. I have been a spectator as she packs herself a snack knowing the team bus leaves right after school and the game isn’t until 7:30 p.m.

Self-sufficiency and independence are not skills our kids gain by us running interference as parents. We have to allow our kids to fail to learn. If they forget their socks for a game we shouldn't drop everything and run them a pair of socks, they will figure out how to advocate and ask for some from the coach or they will borrow some from a friend. This uncomfortable situation will teach them to be resourceful and advocate for themselves. Most likely by having to work hard to solve the problem they won’t forget their socks next time. If they leave their snack for the game at home, have them go hungry, I promise they won’t forget their snacks for the next road trip.

This tough love is a way to empower our kids into understanding what it means to be a student-athlete and be prepared for their own success. Being a student-athlete takes skills and also builds skills so I strongly encourage all parents to empower their student-athletes to figure out what they need to be successful and self-reliant. It takes a team of people to prepare our kids to be self-sufficient and successful in school and sports which will translate to self-sufficient and successful adulthood.

The new student/parent portal is a great way to start building this independence. Everything your student-athlete needs is right there on their home screen of the portal. Dates and times of practice, what time they are dismissed from class for road games, and what time the bus returns back to campus. They can subscribe to the calendar link and all of this information can populate right onto their calendar and also yours if you choose.

Please check out this helpful tutorial by Ann Sulzer on how to use your student portal to make it easy for your student-athlete to manage their sports commitment and have them own what is happening each day and where they need to be. If they make a mistake, know this is where the growth happens. Here is the information on how to use the parent portal so you can observe from the sidelines as well.

Aardvark Sports Corner Highlights

Girls Soccer

2021 Senior Night for OES Girls Soccer

Girls Varsity Soccer got the 5-0 win on senior night over Westside Christian. Senior Olivia F. ‘22 scored a hat trick putting three goals in the back of the net. Nina F. '23 also scored and Zoe B. ‘24 put a beautiful goal in from the top of the 18-yard box. It was a great senior night. Congratulations seniors Ellie R., Annie H., Nadia S., and Malia P. (Pictured: The group of seniors who played their last home soccer game. Photo courtesy of John Holloran.)

JV Girls Soccer had their lone game canceled this week but practiced hard preparing for three games in four days next week! Good luck team.

Boys Soccer

Boys Varsity Soccer fell behind early on a quick counter-attacking goal from Westside Christian in the first half. The boys were able to grab a well-worked team goal ending with Connor M. '22 putting it in the back of the net. Midway through the second half, OES aggressively got the ball forward and ended the passage of play with another goal from Connor to end the score at 2-1. The team showed good character to battle back through adversity after falling behind early in the game.

OES JV Boys Soccer

JV Boys Soccer might have lost to Riverdale this week but they played both inspired soccer and their best soccer of the year in the second half of that match-up. 

JV2 Boys Soccer played Catlin’s JV on Tuesday and showed their resolve as they saw out an unfortunate loss battling until the end. OES men’s JV2 soccer had a game Thursday against Horizon Christian and despite playing really well ended up losing, though they received praise from the other team's coaching staff for their effort and sportsmanship. Both teams will continue to train hard as they learn more and constantly improve. (Pictured: JV2 Boys preparing to depart for Catlin. Photo courtesy of Gabe Perry-Freer.)


OES Varsity Volleyball

Varsity Volleyball lost a hard-fought battle vs. a hard-hitting Catlin team this past week losing sets 19-25 18-25 and 19-25. The girls then traveled to Westside on Tuesday night where a raucous crowd booed and jeered the girls as they stood their ground and had their best hitting night of the season. Taking down Westside 3-0. The Varks will face De La Salle this week. (Pictured: Cayton S. '23 with the kill vs. Westside. Photo courtesy of Missy Smith.)

JV Volleyball stayed undefeated after this week. They took care of business vs. Catlin on the road and then had a tailgate pizza party before supporting the varsity team. The girls then made quick work of Westside Christian on the road 2-0.

Cross Country

Cross Country last raced on September 24 at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon, OR. Olin G. '23 finished 5th and Tyler E. '22 finished 13th. Sophomore Ruby G. '25 finished 17th on the girls' side. The next race is tonight for the team in Stayton. Good Luck everyone!