Arts Over Sports

As I reflect on my last 14 years at Hockaday, one of the worst grievances I have about the school is its lack of school spirit. Yes, for years, artists have complained that while athletics is one of the four cornerstones, the arts are often forgotten. But I beg to differ.

I have played a sport since I was 3-years-old. I am a member of two varsity sports teams at Hockaday and would not have traded my athletic experience for anything. But lately I’ve been frustrated. Over the past few years, I have attended countless musicals, orchestra concerts, choir performances and dance recitals. I even made it once to a ceramics show (and not only for the HockaPunch). And I’m not complaining. I love going to these events and laughing at my complete lack of coordination or harmony. I want to support my friends who have spent hours perfecting their pirouettes or memorizing sheet after sheet of music.

But I don’t think that the gesture is returned. A very small fraction of our school can admit to attending one or more sports games.

For the sake of argument, I understand. Sports are after school events, sometimes as late as 7 p.m. Arts were created to be enjoyed by an audience: if orchestra or choir assemblies were optional, we could expect the auditorium to be less than packed.

But it is so frustrating to spend hours of my study hall time watching my classmates doing their passion when I know that the only fans at my game that afternoon would be a few faithful parents.

As I’ve mentioned this article to a few friends, they are understandably defensive. They argue that fine arts would be pointless if they performed to an empty audience and that sports are not made to be watched—we’re only playing to win. Yes, we’re playing to win. But ask any athlete, or any fan who has attended a game of any sport or profession, and everyone will acknowledge the difference that fans can make. Playing at ESD can be the most demoralizing thing when I look up to their full student section, complete with vuvuzelas, fat heads, ESD shirts and constant yelling, then turn and face my group of 30 parents with cowbells.

By the time this article is published, my Hockaday sports career will be over (please excuse the tears welling in my eyes as I type this). You will never have the chance to see the Class of 2013 perform in their respective sports.

That doesn’t matter to me. I want to change things for the future. I want to come back and visit a sports game and see daisies cheering on their classmates. Supporting each other shouldn’t be a burden. Attendance shouldn’t reluctantly come only after reading junior Grace’s email reminders of a mandatory assembly. Every single one of your classmates has a passion or some kind of extra activity in which they excel. Can you name the passion of every girl in your history class? Can you say that you’ve watched them doing said talent?

Maybe we’re lacking in school spirit because there is no main sports team (i.e. football) that we can rally around as a community, Friday Night Lights style. Even though we are a small, single-sex private school in a small athletics conference, our athletics teams rock, and you shouldn’t miss the chance to see your classmates shine. It’s common courtesy (hey, that’s a cornerstone too!) to return the favor and support the classmates who have supported you.