Three Terms of Sport

This week, Ms. Cristy Drake shares some insight into the value of students being involved in three terms of sports in the school year. Ms. Drake has been at TCS since 2020 and is the School’s director of athletics.

Written by guest blogger, Cristy Drake

Wayne Gretzky did it.
Clara Hughes did it.
Michael Jordan did it.
I did it.

What exactly is “it”? “It” is playing multiple sports growing up.

At Trinity College School, this is one of our defining program features: three terms of sport! We embrace it. We celebrate it. We are thrilled to offer it!

Here’s why:

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were 13 or 14 years old? I do. I wanted to be a marine biologist. I had just watched the Disney classic Free Willy and, in my heart, I knew it was my calling to study whales. As it turns out, one trip to SeaWorld and I changed my mind.

If you can change your mind about a career at such a young age, what about a sport? Children are just one game, season, coach or peer group away from changing their minds. What if, by specializing, they never get the chance to try something else?

At TCS, students get the chance to try something new; that’s why we offer three terms of sport.

Do you recall in the ’90s, there was a theory that children shouldn’t lift weights because it would stunt their growth? That idea quickly went out of style, along with acid-wash jeans and crimped hair.

But, what we do know is this: children and teenagers need to move their bodies in various ways to reach their full potential. That means the more variety of strength, flexibility, cardiovascular and agility an athlete is exposed to, the better they become. We also know this: overuse injuries are drastically rising among young people. These injuries lead to missed games, practices and, eventually entire seasons, the repercussions of which are dealt with for a lifetime.

We care about the health and wellness of our students at TCS, so we have three terms of sport.

I think most of us are familiar with the term “burnout.” Well, burnout is not just for adults; it is also linked specifically to children who specialize in sports too young.

Focusing on only one sport can cause mental and emotional fatigue, resentment and anxiety. Coping with the stress of coach and parent expectations, demanding schedules and high-pressure situations can result in athletes becoming exhausted, anxious, injured and, ultimately, they may quit or take time away from their sport.

We know this at TCS, so we are passionate about allowing our students to play three terms of sport.

Making friends as an adult is so hard, isn’t it? When I moved here a couple of years ago, I wanted to meet new people. Luckily, I played many sports and felt confident joining a few leagues. I now have a soccer friend to eat sushi with, I’ve got a Tuesday golf time with a few gals, and I share podcast recommendations with one of my basketball friends.

I know our students can relate. Sports are a way for students to connect, be seen, be heard and develop confidence. Sports aren’t just about learning to put a ball in the net. It is also about learning how to make friends, navigate challenging situations, compromise and be selfless. Like me, someday some of our students might move to a new town and want to make a few friends. I hope they can do so through playing sports.

We care about building physical and social muscles at TCS; that’s one of the reasons we have three terms of sports.

Of course there is a place in sports, and at TCS, for elite athletes and elite programs; we have plenty of examples of students who continue to pursue and achieve top-tier sport goals with the support of TCS coaches, faculty and staff. Undoubtedly, those students are laser-focussed on fulfilling their dreams and put forth the personal commitment to make that happen.

That said, at TCS three terms of sport mean that you get to be on three different teams, three chances to meet friends, three chances to be inspired by a coach and three chances to learn something new. You have three chances to fall in love with a sport, reduce your risk of injury and burnout, and have fun.

In the end, only approximately 1% of athletes go pro. But we’d love it if 100% of our grads continued to live a healthy lifestyle, so here at TCS, we offer three terms of sport.

sports school students