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The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Strength in spirit: how sports teams get energized before games

Members of the swim team wear googles the day of their swim meet. Photo used with permission from Stella Muzin.

Walking down the hallway on an early Tuesday morning, members of the girls varsity softball team can be seen wearing rain themed outfits. Despite the fact that they assumed their game would be canceled due to inclement weather, they stuck to their tradition and maintained team spirit. 

Team spirit and traditions are an integral part of the CESJDS athletics experience. While they may look different depending on the team, these values are clearly visible in the atmosphere among the players. 

“It’s a way to get the team to act as a team,” Alexander Kirsch, physical education teacher and head tennis coach said. “…I think the biggest thing about team spirit is you’re able to make it fun and personalized and you’re able to do what your team wants to do or what your players want to do.”

Freshman Yarden Wilkenfeld finds that team spirit allows the girls softball team to unify and partake in shared experiences, creating a tight knit group. 

“[Team spirit] creates community because it pushes everyone to show that they’re a part of something together; a part of whatever sports team you’re on,” Wilkenfeld said.

Dressing to a specific theme the day of game or match is a common practice among all the sports teams. While some teams choose to do more traditional themes such as “hawaiian shirts” or “pajamas,” others choose to do more creative themes such as “middle school boy.” 

[Team spirit] creates community because it pushes everyone to show that they’re a part of something together; a part of whatever sports team you’re on.”

— Yarden Wilkenfeld

“I like dress-up days, because it shows everyone that we have a game and it makes us stand out,” Wilkenfeld said. “So people will ask us if we have a game and then maybe they’ll come support us…It helps to encourage people to come to the game…It brings joy to the sport.”

For junior and boys volleyball captain Boaz Dauber, team spirit isn’t only important in preparation for a game but also during the game itself. 

Whenever members of the boys volleyball team make a good play, they make sure to cheer each other on. Additionally, when people mess up, they find ways to support them rather than shame them. According to Dauber, these practices allow them to create a supportive and positive environment. 

“I think that team spirit is really important in creating a positive experience and a place for people to grow, but [it] also allows younger students to connect with older students throughout high school,” Dauber said. 

Team spirit also isn’t limited to games; for many teams it is also very important to their practices, where they have established practice traditions. 

A tradition started this year by the boys tennis team has been ending every practice with pushups, each day adding five more to the number of pushups that they have to complete. According to Kirsch, this custom and team traditions more generally allow the team to have communal and unifying experiences.

“It just makes it fun,” Kirsch said. “It’s all supposed to be fun and at the end of the day…I always like to re-emphasize that in 20 years you’re not going to remember if you won or you lost a match against a certain team, you’re going to remember the friends you made along the way and the experiences you had with your teammates.”

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About the Contributor
Sophie Schwartz
Sophie Schwartz, Opinion Editor
Sophie is excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She is looking forward to helping the new staff and designing creative spreads. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Sophie plays on the JDS Girls Tennis team, is a team leader for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and participates in the STARS program and the AJC teen initiative. In addition, she loves playing with her dog, cooking, going to the beach, and hanging out with her family and friends. She can’t wait to work with her co-editor to produce an amazing opinion section.  

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