Wednesday night I was in a familiar space, but with a different role. After parking in the OES upper lot, I walked down SPARC hill with my 2nd grade daughter Rhiannon. We were early, but the tennis courts already had dozens of Aardvarks dribbling basketballs. Rhiannon sprinted away after seeing her teammates, leaving me standing with the rest of the parents. Since Cindy McEnroe retired last spring, it was up to Missy Smith to calm everyone down. Each team gathered in a small circle and the coaches started the practice with several mindfulness activities. Nine circles of lower schoolers, nine teams, all led by parent volunteer coaches. I remember Year 1. Mindfulness? Not really. The first practice felt more like organized chaos. This year, Year 5, things ran smoothly thanks to Missy's leadership and so many veteran coaching volunteers. As I watched the 2nd grade girls start their dribbling exercises I was grateful for the three parent coaches that were patiently working with the 13 future WNBA stars. Two coaches were back from last season and they had added a rookie. The three of them made sure each player was hearing her name. Before you could say Double Dribble the hour was up and SPARC emptied out. As we walked back up the hill Rhiannon was re-sharing every detail of the practice. Her energy was off the charts.
HS basketball had the week off. It was ideal timing as our student-athletes prepare for finals next week . Coaches continued to remind their players to use the down time to prepare. Similar to an athletic season, the work has to be done ahead of time. You can't cram everything you need to get done at the last second and expect to be successful. Next week basketball and dryland training will be the healthy escape for many of our students as they spend Tuesday through Friday demonstrating what they have learned during the first semester.
The Ski Team will head out again this Friday. Last weekend the race was cancelled due to high winds. The stormy conditions were a bummer, but they also dropped a lot of snow to set up the rest of the season. The Ski Team is excited to defend their Metro Championship this Saturday!
The Athletic Department is slowly packing up the gym. In March construction for the new Athletic Center will start. We are packing up closets and preparing for 15 months of construction. Everyone in Fariss Hall is going to need to be flexible. Peter Kraft stepped up to model this. Lower School PE will move into his office. We will rely on the Fariss Hall Conference Room and Movement Room for changing spaces for our student-athletes. The AD office will also be used for a changing room along with storage.
You will not hear any complaints from us though. This new building will be the community space that we have needed for a very long time. All three divisions will live there on a daily basis. We can't wait!