The Lion's Tale

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Athletes join teams outside of school

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Seventh-grader Nicole Rodney streaks down the lacrosse field cradling the ball. She darts past several defenders and launches the ball into the goal. As the goalie goes to retrieve the ball, Rodney’s teammates rush to congratulate her with high fives and pats on the back.  

Rodney had been interested in playing lacrosse since her first summer at Camp Laurel in 2013. But since CESJDS did not have a team, Rodney had to search for opportunities outside of school. 

Although JDS offers 12 different sports, many students, like Rodney, are interested in athletic teams that are not included on that list such as football, field hockey and lacrosse. Lacrosse, for example, is the official Maryland state sport and the fastest growing sport at the high school level, according to U.S. Lacrosse, but is not offered at JDS.

Interim Athletic Director Becky Silberman said that the reason that these sports are not offered is that they require larger rosters, which poses a problem due to the small size of the school. With the limited number of students, the athletic department would not be able to add teams while keeping all the current ones.

At JDS, sports teams are not allowed to have practices or games on Fridays and Saturdays, which makes it difficult to schedule games. Almost all other schools in the PVAC play games on Fridays or Saturdays. In addition to this, many sports such as football only play games on Fridays, which JDS is unable to accommodate because of Shabbat. 

Students whose traditions are more religious are not always able to play on sports teams outside of JDS due to the conflict of observing Shabbat. This forces them to either play on a school sports team or not be able to play a sport of their choice. 

Although there has never been a request for a football or field hockey team, many have advocated for the addition of a hockey team to the JDS athletic department. 

While JDS currently does not have a hockey team, from 2014 to 2016 a hockey team was created due to high demand. Many students at the time already played hockey outside of school and so it was eventually created and coached by a father of a former student who was knowledgeable about the game. The team was not in an official league, but scheduled games against various public schools in the area.

Senior Isaac Gelb was a member of this team during its two years of existence. He still plays on a team outside of school. Although Gelb is excited to be on a team outside of school because he gets to create new friendships, there are some aspects of playing on a school team that he misses. 

“Playing in school was a lot of fun because you get to have the school spirit and pride that we don’t necessarily get to have with this other team because it’s not our JDS team, so I do wish I had that, but overall I really like getting to meet new people,” Gelb said. 

This story was featured in the Volume 36, Issue 2 edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on Oct. 26, 2018.

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