Lions’ sports are back

Sophie Kaplan, News Editor

After over a year without school-sponsored sporting events, increased student vaccinations and low test positivity rates led CESJDS to resume inter-conference competitions. Since March, the girls varsity soccer and softball teams, the boys varsity tennis and soccer teams, as well as the coed varsity track team, have had the opportunity to participate.

The girls varsity soccer team was the first JDS team to return to competition against other schools. On March 21, the Lions lost to the Field School in their first regular-season game.

For freshman Sela Wertlieb, the return to competition was beneficial because it helped the players maintain their skills.

“It is important that we have in-person games so we can keep up our skills and also get the interaction that we were missing all of last year .… It gave me and my teammates a big boost of confidence now when we are playing scrimmages just during practice,” Wertlieb said.

The girls varsity softball team, coached by English Department Chair Thomas Worden, played their first game against the Field school on May 4. Although the game was rained out after the first inning, the team finished on top with a score of 4-2. Worden was proud of the resilience that the players demonstrated throughout the past year.

“The players were so ready to get back,” Worden said. “There was quite a lot of anticipation. A bit of nervousness. They had to knock some rust off on the field. Some were playing positions for the first time, so there were some adjustments to be made, and they made them.”

Then, the boys varsity tennis team competed in a practice match versus the St. Anselm’s Abbey School in Washington, D.C.. Players were required to wear masks, even as they were socially distanced, as required by D.C. law.

For Oren Swagel, junior and captain of the boys varsity tennis team, tennis matches provide an opportunity to demonstrate his dedication and skills. In addition, Swagel appreciates the competitiveness of matches.

“I enjoy them because it is putting the stuff I practice into action,” Swagel said. “For me, especially in tennis, matches are for proving to myself that I can win and also helping my team win.”

The girls and boys varsity soccer teams are currently practicing together, which has its challenges according to Wertlieb. She feels that it is difficult to maintain a consistent work ethic when there are no games scheduled, as games serve as a reward and incentive for the players’ hard work in practice.

“I have to keep the mindset that I am doing this [going to practice] to better my chances for next year and to have the opportunity to keep playing … I am really happy that we get to practice and had a game, even if it is not the same as a typical year,” Wertlieb said.

As more teams resume games, the season feels more like a return to normalcy. Worden notes that while the girls softball team likes practicing, games offer a unique experience.

“The team loves to compete. They love to show off their skills and be together,” Worden said. “And I am just so glad that they had this opportunity to take part in a game after such a difficult last season.”