If you ask a kid why they like to play sports at school they will likely say "It's fun!" or "I love to compete." As educators, we know that when children play sports they're also gaining other physical, social-emotional, and soft skills such as confidence, self-esteem, patience, leadership, and teamwork.
Photo Credit: Troy House (@troyhousephotography)
Beyond the BASIS Curriculum, we offer students choice and opportunity to pursue their passion for sport as well as expand their athletic prowess by trying something new. In the founding years of our school, we have had a variety of sports offerings and as we expand to an Upper School campus in Fall 2021, we will continue to grow our programs. To see this progression, we wanted to share a few highlights from our Wildcat athletics to date before touching on where we are heading.
Based on student interest, we have had elementary and middle school basketball, co-ed volleyball, flag football, and indoor soccer. On the competitive side, BASIS Independent Manhattan has been part of the Charter School Athletic Association (CSAA) and Confederation of New York Schools and Team Sports (CONSAT). Our first team to bring home an athletic award was the elementary flag football team who won the CSAA Flag Football Championship in Spring 2018. Coach Rodriguez praised them as "a young team that experienced challenges and faced tough opponents, but these athletes learned the importance of grit and persistence to come out as champions."
Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Weston together coached our competitive boys' basketball team for two seasons and witnessed immense growth and achievement from their players. Going into the 2019-20 season, the team had many returning players and high expectations for themselves. They achieved success by securing a place in the CONSAT playoffs, which are played at the Barclays Center where the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets play.
Mr. Weston recalled the season, "The final stretch was tight, and there was a point where we were in doubt of making the playoffs, but the kids bonded as a team and excelled together to achieve their goal." Even though they didn't get to play in front of the fans at the Barclays Center because the COVID-19 pandemic cut their season short, Coach Weston said, "I was extremely proud of the growth in their play and comradery, which resulted from the kids being receptive to the guidance of their coaches and the hard work they put in individually."
On the flip side, our club teams have provided a place for inclusivity where experienced and novice athletes come together to improve their skills while having fun. Our co-ed volleyball team (Gr. 5-7) exemplified this as they were a diverse group of older and younger boys and girls at various skill levels. It wasn't all just drills and scrimmages, they played other private schools in competitive games that their coach, Ms. Dickens, said they "loved getting out there to play because they had gained such confidence in themselves throughout the season."
The Facilities of Our Future
With after-school sports in an unpredictable state due to the continuing pandemic, we are excited to focus on one thing we know that is certain. In Fall 2021, the Upper School campus in Chelsea will open for grades 6-10 and the students will benefit from our partnership with Chelsea Piers, which is located across the street from our campus building.
Our agreement with Chelsea Piers provides BASIS Independent Manhattan students with a first-class athletic experience by having access to one of the premier sports complexes in New York City. As hosts of our PE & Health Program, Chelsea Piers offers a multitude of possibilities in their 80,000 square-foot Field House. Students can choose between any field sports, court sports, gymnastics, yoga, Pilates, and rock climbing where they will play on regulation-size courts and fields, have a fully outfitted gymnastics center, and a 23 ft. rock climbing wall.
The sports classes in middle school will be on a rotation while in the older grades they will be determined by student preference. This supports the goal of empowering student independence that is being fostered under Head of School, Mr. Brandon McNeice. We know our students enrolled for next year will love having the privilege to determine their PE classes.
Additional benefits from this agreement include some of the best after-school sports options in the city, health classes, and an employee fitness discount. We are thrilled with the reality and potential for sports and athletics made possible by Chelsea Piers at our Upper School campus.
Academics and athletics are not mutually exclusive and we celebrate our student-athletes as much as our scholars. Our students are encouraged to play hard and compete with good sportsmanship, which will empower them -- both on and off the field -- to become leaders who possess discipline, grit, and persistence.
If you would like to learn more about our program, you are invited to attend one of our upcoming information sessions.